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Court considers revoking probation

By Staff | Nov 5, 2014

Three defendants appeared in Tyler County Circuit Court Oct. 29 on petitions to revoke their probations.

Steven E. Loy, 38, of Tyler County, was indicted by the October 2012 grand jury for the felony offense of manufacturing a controlled substance, by growing and cultivating marijuana. On April 18, 2013, he was given a one to five year sentence for the charge and subsequently placed on 60 days home confinement and two years probation. On July 18 he was arrested by the Preston County Sheriff’s office and charged with possession with intent to deliver, which was later reduced to simple possession.

Prosecutor Luke Furbee on Wednesday asked the court to allow him to call a witness in the case, a detective from the Morgantown Police Department. Furbee questioned the detective as to his knowledge of the defendant and if he could identify him. He pointed out Loy and identified him as the one who had approached him at a Preston County music festival in July and asked him if he was interested in purchasing some marijuana or hash.

The detective said he told Loy he would have to go get some money. He said they later met up and he bought $40 worth of marijuana from Loy.

Loy’s attorney, Kevin Neiswonger, cross examined the detective, questioning why Loy would approach someone he didn’t know and offer to sell marijuana. Neiswonger also argued on Loy’s behalf that he should have probation re-instated since he was only charged with simple possession.

Judge Mark A. Karl said even being in possession was a violation and enough to revoke probation. He said he would take it under advisement and ordered a return date of Nov. 17. Loy was remanded to jail.

Also, Raymond L. Smith, 25, of Middlebourne, is charged with violating his probation that was handed down on Jan. 16 after he had pleaded guilty to felony grand larceny. He was sentenced to 1-10 years in the West Virginia Penitentiary for Men. However, it was suspended and he was placed on two years supervised probation. He was ordered to enter into Tyler County Drug Court and make restitution of to the victims. Two other counts, felony nighttime burglary and misdemeanor destruction of property, were dismissed.

On Wednesday Smith admitted to the violation. His attorney, John Gainer, asked that he be re-instated to drug court and placed on home confinement.

Prosecutor Furbee opposed that notion, asking the court to impose the original sentence. He said the defendant had been terminated from the drug court on July 15.

He said he also had a letter from Judge David W. Hummel Jr., which states he will not be accepted back into drug court.

Judge Karl said he would take the case under advisement and ordered Smith, who is presently incarcerated, to return to court Nov. 6. Smith was remanded to jail.

James Vincent Wells, 26, of Middlebourne, appeared with his attorney for a continuation hearing to revoke probation. John Gainer, representing Wells, said his client was ready to admit to his violation of probation. He is charged with public intoxication.

Wells had earlier been convicted of driving on a license suspended for DUI and a shoplifting charge to which he was sentenced and placed on home confinement. He later was found to have violated home confinement and was remanded to jail. After his release he was placed on probation, which he is now charged with violating.

Wells admitted to the violation on Wednesday and said he did so freely and voluntarily. Gainer argued his client should be placed back on probation.

Prosecutor Furbee, told the court he wants the original sentence imposed. He said the state’s position is home confinement has failed, probation has failed. Every opportunity he was given has failed.

Judge Karl said he would take the case under advisement. He ordered a return date of Nov. 6.

Wells was allowed to remain free on bond; he was told to stay in contact with his attorney.