Tyler County jury finds Anderson guilty of charges
Jeremiah R. Anderson, 24, of Knob Fork, W.Va. was convicted by a Tyler County jury on two felony counts and one misdemeanor count in Circuit Court on Tuesday, Sept. 28 after a day-long trial. Anderson was indicted in October 2009.
Anderson had appeared before Judge David W. Hummel, Jr. on Monday, Sept. 27. At that time, it was believed that Anderson intended to enter a plea of guilt to one felony count pursuant to a plea agreement. After the hearing began, his attorney, George J. Cosenza of Parkersburg, informed Judge Hummel that he no longer wished to enter the plea. Judge Hummel ordered a jury to be summoned for the following day.
The trial began with Prosecuting Attorney Luke Furbee informing the jury what the state intended to prove. He informed the jury that Anderson and Kimberly Rial were brought to Middlebourne on the night of March 7, 2009 by Jessica Schoolcraft from New Martinsville. The State maintained that Schoolcraft dropped Anderson and Rail off in Middlebourne, and that thereafter, Anderson broke into Doak’s Greenhouse and stole a crowbar. Following this, it was maintained that Anderson and Rail went to the side door of Prunty’s facing Boreman Avenue and forced the door. The State maintained Anderson’s intention was to steal money or drugs. The burglar alarm was activated, and the two fled west along Boreman Avenue, ditching the crowbar in a trash bin. The State asserted that Schoolcraft then picked up Anderson and Rial and they returned to New Martinsville.
Schoolcraft and Rail both testified against Anderson at the trial. Rial was brought to the courtroom in chains as she had previously pled guilty for her role in the crimes and is serving time in prison. Rial testified that the plan was to steal “money or pills.” The crowbar, as well as pictures of the damaged door and Anderson’s statement given to Deputy J.K. Maston of the sheriff’s Department on July 1, 2009 were admitted into evidence as well.
In closing arguments, Furbee argued that the testimony of Kaycee Dehn and Julia Earley showed that the culprits were both wearing hooded sweatshirts. Rial testified that she and Anderson were wearing that attire. Cosenza argued that the State did not prove Anderson had any intent to commit a larceny if he and Rail had ultimately made it inside Prunty’s Pharmacy. Furbee responded that it was common sense that Anderson would not have gone to the trouble of destroying the door late at night if he had no intention of stealing something once inside.
After the close of the evidence, the jury members retired to the jury room to consider the case. After approximately 45 minutes of deliberation, the jury returned verdicts of guilty against Anderson for the felony offenses of breaking and entering a building and attempted breaking and entering a building, and the misdemeanor offense of destruction of property.
Following the publishing of the verdict, Furbee moved the court to revoke Anderson’s bond. Judge Hummel granted the motion and remanded Anderson to jail pending his sentencing. Anderson faces possible prison sentences of not less than one nor more than three years for the attempt. He faces a possible jail sentence of up to a year for destruction of property.
Prosecuting Attorney Luke Furbee had the following comments:
“It was a just outcome. The peace and dignity of the community was vindicated. Ultimately, laws are enforced and criminals are deterred by conscientious citizens in trials just like this one.”