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Wilkinson enters into revised plea

By Staff | Dec 18, 2013

Robert Wilkinson, 49, of Chelsea St. Sistersville, originally charged with felony third offense domestic battery, entered into a revised plea agreement Dec. 5 before Judge Mark A. Karl. Wilkinson, who on July 18 entered an innocent plea to the indictment handed down by the grand jury, changed his plea to guilty.

Wilkinson was originally charged after an incident at his mother’s home at 304 Chelsea St., Sistersville, where he was alleged to have shoved his sister, causing her to fall on a heat register. Wilkinson, who was intoxicated at the time, claims to have no knowledge of the incident but believes the state has enough evidence to get a conviction against him.

The plea agreement between the parties is for him to serve one to five years in the West Virginia Penitentiary for Men with credit for time served. However, he is to be placed on one year probation after serving 30 days in jail. Judge Karl imposed the sentence as agreed to by the parties. Wilkinson, who has a doctor’s appointment on Dec. 17, was ordered to report to the sheriff’s office by 5 p.m. that day for transport to the North Central Regional Jail.

James V. Wells, 25, of 314 1/2 Main St, Middlebourne, appeared before Judge. Karl last Thursday on a petition to revoke home confinement. Wells was sentenced on March 7 to not less than one year nor more than 10 years in the state penitentiary for the felony offense of grand larceny and six months in the NCRJ for the misdemeanor offense of second offense DUI. He was subsequently allowed to serve his time on home incarceration. He was placed on home incarceration on March 22 by the Tyler County Sheriff’s office. Both sentences were to be served concurrently.

On Oct. 29 he was found to have violated the terms and conditions of home incarceration by being charged with the misdemeanor offense of driving on a license revoked for DUI and shoplifting, both of which allegedly occurred in Wetzel County. He also reportedly admitted to the home confinement officer to purchasing and consuming alcohol on at least three occasions while on home incarceration.

The state, represented by Prosecutor Luke Furbee, recommended, per the plea agreement, that the original sentence be imposed and the home confinement be revoked. Wells’ attorney, John Gainer, was in agreement. Judge Karl stated he would entertain a motion for a Rule 35 sentence modification of sentence after serving one year with no violations. Gainer asked the court if his client could report after Jan. 1. Furbee objected, stating he felt that was a little too long. Judge Karl agreed and ordered Wells to report to the sheriff’s office at noon on Dec. 26, at which time he will be transported to the Divisions of Corrections so as to no longer be a charge against Tyler County.

Wells was allowed to continue on home incarceration until his time to report on Dec. 26. He was further warned that failure to report could result in further charges being brought against him.

Ronald A. Morgan III, 37, of HC Box 92, Pine Grove, appeared in court alongside his attorney, Shane Mallett, to enter into a plea agreement with the state.

Morgan was indicted in October 2012 on the counts of grand larceny and destruction of property. Morgan, who originally pleaded innocent to the charges, entered a motion to withdraw the innocent plea. Upon answering a series of questions from Judge Karl, Morgan entered a guilty plea to a lesser offense of being an accessory after the fact, a misdemeanor of count one, as part of the plea agreement. He was sentenced to one year in the NCRJ with credit for time served

The guilty plea was accepted by the court and entered into the record. The execution of the sentence was suspended and he was placed on two years supervised probation. He was also ordered to make restitution of $166.66 to the Baptist Church of Middlebourne, $2,130 to the Church Insurance Co., $2,683 to West Reynolds Inc., and a decree of judgement was entered against him. As part of the plea agreement counts two, three, and four of the original indictment shall be continued generally until the conclusion of his probation. Karl said, “If you complete your probation and make restitution, all charges against you on counts two, three, and four shall be dismissed.”

Morgan was also ordered to pay the cost of his prosecution and attorney fees. He must also meet all rules and regulations of probation and to complete the drug and alcohol forms. Morgan’s charges occurred when he allegedly took some items to Ward’s Recycling in Marietta, Ohio, which were consistent with an air conditioner that was taken from the Baptist Church along with some other recycling materials claimed to be stolen. Morgan was ordered to make an appointment with the probation officer, John Lantz, by Dec. 10.

Matthew Stewart, 21, of Sistersville, appeared before Judge Karl on Thurs. for a possible plea. Stewart, who is charged in a six-count indictment from the October grand jury, has received a revised plea offer and his attorney, Kevin Neiswonger, advised Judge Karl that he believes a resolution is possible. Karl then set a return date of Jan. 16, at 10 a.m. Stewart was remanded to jail.

Gary J. Willey Jr., 33, of Rt. 2 Box 230 A, New Martinsville, will return to court on Jan. 16 for a possible plea agreement. His attorney, Shane Mallett, told Judge Karl he felt there would be a possible resolution at that time. Willey’s charges, two counts of embezzlement, allegedly occurred in 2012.

Daniel S. Finley, 25, of 201 Dodd St., Middlebourne, was again present in court with his attorney, Brent Clyburn. Finley, who had recently under gone a forensic exam that indicated he was competent to stand trial, is charged with sexual assault in the third degree. Clyburn told the court that he wasn’t disputing the results of the psychological evaluation. He said it is just a matter of communicating the offer of the state to him and making the determination that he understands. He said his client’s full scale IQ is 51 and he believes he needs a little more time. Karl set Jan. 16, 10 a.m., as the next date. Finley’s bond was continued. Clyburn stated he believes it will give him enough time to reach a plea agreement.

William B. Neff, 51, of Box 13 B, Middlebourne, appeared alongside his attorney public defender, John Gainer. Neff is charged with nine sexual offenses handed down by the October grand jury. According to Gainer, Neff, who was in court, was given notice that day of a hearing filed with the court. Karl set a return date of Jan. 16, 2014, at 10 a.m. Neff was remanded to the NCRJ.

Brandon L. Rodriquez, 25, of 232 Maple Ave., New Martinsville, appeared in court for formal arraignment last Thursday. He was indicted by the October grand jury of the felony offense of obtaining money under false pretenses. Rodriquez entered a plea of innocence to the charge and Judge Karl set a return date of Jan. 16, 2014, at 10 a.m. and his bond was continued with no objections from the state.

John Gainer, attorney for Rodriquez, told the court that negotiations to resolve the case are continuing with the state.

Matthew D. Witsoe, 49, of Rt 1, Box 156-2 Beverly, W.Va.,appeared alongside his attorney, Brent Clyburn, to determine further proceedings in his case. Clyburn told Karl that he has received a plea offer from the state and he needs more time to go over it with his client. Also, he has not reviewed the state’s discovery with him. indicted by the Oct. grand jury on three offenses: felony breaking and entering and two misdemeanor offenses of destruction of property.

Judge Karl set the return date of Jan. 16, 2014, at 10 a.m. Witsoe was remanded back to jail where he remains under $30,000 bond.

Seth Morris, 24, was in court last Thursday alongside his attorney, John Gainer, for a status hearing. Morris is facing a three-count indictment handed down by the October grand jury. Gainer told the court he believes an agreement has been reached in the case. Karl set a return date of Jan. 16, 2014, at 10 a.m. Morris, who is free under $15,000 bond, was ordered to return at the above time and date.