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Shepherd pleads guilty to conspiracy

By Staff | Oct 22, 2014

Stephen D. Shepherd, 52, of Steele Street, Middlebourne, pleaded guilty Oct. 15 in Tyler County Circuit Court to felony conspiracy to commit a crime against the state.

Shepherd said he had conspired with others against the state to manufacture methamphetamine and was in possession of precursor with intent to manufacture methamphetamine. He said he had supplied another man with five boxes of Sudafed for manufacturing methamphetamine and he received nothing in return.

Prosecutor Luke Furbee said if the case were to proceed to trial he would show that Shepherd had purchased Sudafed at least 19 times and had supplied two men with precursor. He said a confidential informer had also been used to collect evidence against him.

Shepherd was sentenced to one to five years in the custody of the Department of Corrections. However, he was allowed to serve his sentence on home confinement. He was also ordered to pay the cost of his prosecution, including court appointed attorney fees. As part of the agreement, the state will not object to parole after he has served one year of home confinement. Also, his second charge, possession of precursor with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, was dismissed.

In other court matters on Oct. 15, Eddie Dale Pinkerton, 30, of 173 Riverview Est. Lot 23, St. Marys, W.Va., appeared in court alongside his attorney John Gainer for a scheduled magistrate appeal hearing. Pinkerton is appealing a July 1 ruling from Tyler County Magistrate Court where he was found guilty without a jury trial for the offenses of DUI and driving left of center.

John Gainer, told Judge Mark A. Karl he had just learned Pinkerton was now employed, making $17 per hour, and he didn’t believe he could represent him through the Public Defender Corporation. Judge Karl asked Pinkerton if he was in fact employed and making that much. Pinkerton said he was. Karl told Pinkerton he would have to hire an attorney because he no longer qualified for the public defender. He ordered Pinkerton to return to court with his attorney on Oct. 29.

A plea agreement is in the works for Tracy A. Keller, 46, of Dodd Street, Middlebourne, who was charged by the June term of the Tyler County grand jury on two separate felony offenses of conspiracy to commit an offense against the state and possession of precursor with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine. Her attorney, Jessica Myers, told the court a possible agreement is dependent upon her client’s evaluation of drug court. She said they are still waiting on the evaluation. Judge Karl continued the case until Oct. 29. Keller was allowed to remain free on bond.

Marc A. Baker, 30, of Elk Fork Road, Middlebourne, appeared in court Wednesday alongside his attorney Rodney C. Windom for a scheduled hearing in his case. He is charged by the June term of the Tyler County grand jury with the felony offenses of conspiracy to commit an offense against the state and the felony offense of possession of precursor with intent to deliver, both alleged to have occurred between October 2012 and Aug 16, 2013.

Prosecutor Luke Furbee told the court he had received additional supplemental discovery from the defendant and would like some time to go over it. He anticipates he will make a plea offer at some point. Judge Karl passed the matter and ordered the parties to return to court Nov. 6. Baker was allowed to remain on bond.

Brock I. McMahon, 23, of West Main Street, Paden City, appeared in court on Wednesday without counsel. Judge Karl asked McMahon if he knew where his attorney was. McMahon said he had called him and messaged him and never heard anything back. Judge Karl told Prosecutor Luke Furbee to contact Joseph Munoz, McMahon’s attorney, and let him know he has to be here in Tyler County Circuit Court on Oct. 29. Karl then passed the matter until that date. McMahon was allowed to remain free on bond.

McMahon is charged with two separate felony offenses of illegal drug activity by the June Tyler County grand jury. Both offenses are alleged to have occurred in Tyler County between October 2012 and August 2013.

Daniel S. Finley, 25, of 201 Dodd Street, Middlebourne, once again appeared in court with his attorney, Brent Clyburn. Finley is charged with sexual assault in the third degree and has appeared several times in court to determine his competency to stand trial and also try to reach a plea agreement in his case. Clyburn has argued he disagrees with a psychological evaluation he had and has stated his client’s full scale IQ is 51, which makes it difficult for him to understand the plea process.

Wednesday’s hearing was scheduled for a status hearing and possibly to set a trial date. Clyburn said they are having further discussions with the state and his client is prepared to enter a plea. He asked the court to allow a return date of Nov. 6 for the plea. Judge Karl continued the case and ordered Finley to return Nov. 6. With no objection from the state, his bond was allowed to continue.

Johnathan E. Glendenning, charged with five felony counts of forgery and five felony counts of uttering having alleged to occur between December 2012 and January 2013 in Tyler County, failed once again to appear in court after a capias warrant had been issued for his arrest. Judge Karl ordered the capias for his arrest to continue.

On Sept. 9 co-defendant Kimberly J. Rial, 25, presently incarcerated, pleaded guilty to one count each of forgery and uttering, On Oct. 2 she was sentenced by Judge Karl to one to 10 years in the custody of the Division of Corrections for Women. She was given credit for time served and her sentence from Tyler is to run concurrent with one from Wetzel County.

Howard P. Shriver, 34, of Shinnston, W.Va., appeared in court for a hearing to set a new trial date in his case. Shriver on Wednesday appeared alone without counsel. When asked by Judge Karl where his attorney was, Shriver said he didn’t know. He said he had tried calling him and had sent him an e-mail with no response. Judge Karl then said he had just received information that another attorney was supposed to sit in for Jay Gerber that day. He told Shriver to have a seat until they could get this figured out.

After a brief delay in the case, Attorney Eric Powell was called upon to stand in for Gerber. Powell said he had received instructions from Gerber to accept a trial date. Judge Karl set Nov. 17 and 18, as the new dates for the trial. He ordered Shriver to stay in touch with his attorney and to return for trial on the above date. Without objection, his bond was allowed to continue.

Shriver is charged in an 11-count indictment from the February 2013 grand jury which allege that on or about Oct. 8, 2012, he used an axe-like weapon in an attempt to break into a home an attack his wife and two young children.

Timothy J. Channell, 49, of Jacksonburg, W.Va., appeared in court alongside his attorney, John Gainer, for further proceedings in his case. Channell, who is charged by the October 2013 Tyler County grand jury with the felony offense of malicious assault and the misdemeanor charge of second offense domestic battery. He is accused of breaking the victim’s ankle with his hands. He was previously convicted in Tyler County Magistrate Court on the charge of domestic battery on March 6, 2009.

Channell has twice appeared with his attorney in Tyler County Court Court prepared for trial and each time the court has declared a mistrial as they were unable to seat a jury. When asked if there has been any change in the case which could result in a plea, Gainer told Judge Karl there has not. Karl then said due to the inability to seat a jury in Tyler County he would transfer the case to Wetzel or Marshall counties.

Prosecutor Furbee told the court he would like to see the case tried in Marshall County as Wetzel County is where Channell lives and the news is the same there as in Tyler. Judge Karl agreed and will make the change. Channell was allowed to continue on home confinement and $20,000 bond.

James V. Wells, 25, of Middlebourne, appeared in court on a preliminary petition to revoke probation. He appeared alone without counsel. Judge Karl appointed John Gainer from the public defender office to represent him and told Wells to make sure and fill out a financial eligibility form to determine if he is eligible.

Wells was originally charged with the offense of driving on a license suspended for DUI and shoplifting charge. He had been sentenced on those charges and placed on home confinement. He later was found to have violated his home incarceration and was remanded to prison. After release from prison and placed on probation, he is now charged with violating probation.

Judge Karl passed the case until Oct. 29, to allow Wells time to confer with his attorney. He was ordered to return to court on the above date.

Matthew D. Witsoe, 49, of Rt. 1, Box 156-2, Beverly, W.Va., was scheduled to be in court for a hearing on a petition to revoke his probation. Witsoe failed to appear; Judge Karl issued a capias for his arrest. It was brought to the court’s attention by Prosecutor Furbee that Witsoe had failed a drug test in Randolph County and had also failed to report for a scheduled probation appointment.

Witsoe was indicted by the October 2013 Tyler County grand jury on the felony offense of breaking and entering and two misdemeanor charges of destruction of property.

Raymond L. Smith, 25, of Middlebourne, appeared in court on a preliminary petition to revoke probation. Smith was previously charged by the October 2013 term of the Tyler County grand jury with two felony offenses and one misdemeanor, all allegedly occurring on Nov. 27, 2012. The indictment charged him with nighttime burglary, grand larceny, and destruction of property.

Smith, who was sentenced and subsequently placed on probation, is now charged with violating his probation. Judge Karl tentatively appointed public defender John Gainer to represent Smith, who was ordered to return to court on Oct. 29 and remanded to the North Central Regional Jail where he is presently being held.

Jeremy M. Keller, 35, of Third Street, Middlebourne, appeared alongside his attorney, Eric Powell, for a hearing on voluntariness of statement/motion to suppress. Keller was indicted by the June term of the Tyler County grand jury on charges of illegal drug activity involving methamphetamine in Tyler County.

At the hearing it was learned the Tyler County grand jury on Oct. 14 returned a new indictment against Keller charging him with 13 felony offenses of illegal drug activity in Tyler County involving methamphetamine. The offenses are alleged to have occurred between October 2012 and September 2013.

As a result of the superseding charges, Judge Karl ordered Keller to return to court on Oct. 29. He was allowed to remain on bond.