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Defendants plead guilty in Tyler Court

By Staff | Oct 22, 2014

Four defendants pleaded guilty in Tyler County Circuit Court Oct. 15.

Benjamin W. Davis, 41, of Middlebourne, pleaded guilty to three felonies: conspiracy to commit an offense against the state, operating or attempting to operate a clandestine drug laboratory, and manufacturing of a schedule II controlled substance.

The original indictment charged Davis with 77 felony counts of illegal drug activity involving methamphetamine.

Judge Mark A. Karl told Davis in order for the court to accept his guilty plea he would have to tell the court exactly what he did that made him in fact guilty of the crimes. Davis said he did conspire with others to manufacture methamphetamine and did operate a drug lab.

Prosecutor D. Luke Furbee told the court if the case were to proceed to trial he would be able to show that through an investigation by the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office concerning methamphetamine manufacturing in Tyler County between October 2012 and September 2013, the defendant had purchased Sudafed at least 19 times. Also during a traffic stop on by the sheriff’s office the defendant was found to be in possession of methamphetamine and a number of other items used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine. He also said other defendants in the case some who are presently in prison gave statements against Davis.

Judge Karl accepted Davis’ guilty plea then pronounced the sentence of one to five years on the felony offense of conspiracy to commit an offense against the state, two to 10 years for operating or attempting to operate a clandestine drug laboratory, with the two to run consecutive. He was also sentenced him to one to five years for the offense of manufacturing a schedule II controlled substance, methamphetamine. That sentence will run concurrently to the others. His effective sentence is therefore three to 15 years with credit for time served on the conspiracy charge. He was ordered to self report to the Tyler County Sheriff’s office by 12 p.m. on Oct. 21, to be transported to the Department of Corrections to begin serving his sentence.

Jason T. Shepherd, 31, of Middlebourne, pleaded guilty to counts two and three of his five-count indictment. He admitted guilt to two misdemeanor counts of delivery of suboxone a schedule V controlled substance.

Shepherd admitted to the court that he had in fact sold suboxone on two occasions to a confidential informant.

Prosecutor Furbee told the court if the case would proceed to trial he would present evidence which would show the defendant sold suboxone strips to a confidential informant from the sheriff’s office for $40 per strip. He said they also had a recording of the transaction which was ordered by the magistrate’s office and a warranted search on the residence on March 5 turned up $273, which included a $50 bill used to make the purchase. Other items also confiscated included syringes, money, and drug paraphernalia.

For each count Judge Karl sentenced Shepherd, consecutively, to one year in prison. For the first charge the sentence was suspended and he was placed on one year of supervised probation. Shepherd was also ordered to pay the cost of his prosecution, including court appointed attorney fees.

He was ordered to report to the North Central Regional Jail within one week of Marissa Shepherd’s release. Shepherd was also ordered to report to Chief Probation Officer John D. Lantz on Friday at 9 a.m. to begin probation.

As per the plea agreement, the remaining charges against Shepherd were dismissed.

Steven R. Dulaney, 53, of Petroleum Road, Petroleum, W.Va., pleaded guilty to a lessor included misdemeanor offense of second-offense driving under the influence. He was originally indicted on the felony charge of third-offense DUI, alleged to have occurred on or about April 13 in Tyler County.

As per the terms of the plea agreement Dulaney was sentenced to six months in jail and given credit for time served. He was ordered to report to the North Central Regional Jail on Oct. 17 to begin serving the remainder of his sentence. He was also ordered to pay the cost of his prosecution.

Brent L. Baresh, 48, of Tyler County, pleaded guilty by way of information to a charge of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance vicodin, a felony offense.

Judge Karl heard the evidence against Baresh which showed that on May 16 he was pulled over after being observed crossing the center line near Sistersville. It was discovered his license had been revoked for DUI in Marion County. He gave the officer permission to search the vehicle and when they did a pat down, he was found to be in possession of one half of a Vicodin and the passenger in his vehicle was also in possession of one half pill. The arresting officer also found a pill bottle which had been prescribed for 90 pills and had 76 missing.

Baresh pleaded guilty on Wednesday to the offense and was sentenced by Judge Karl to one to five years with credit for time served. His sentence was, however, suspended and he was placed on probation for one year. He was also ordered to pay the cost of his prosecution including court appointed attorney fees.

He was ordered to make an appointment to see Chief Probation Officer John Lantz on the second floor of the Wetzel County Courthouse.