Defendants Plead Guilty Before Judge Cramer
Christopher L. Lewis, 25, of 512 Lemon Alley, Paden City, appeared before Judge Jeffery D. Cramer in Tyler County Circuit Court on Tuesday Aug. 18. Lewis alongside his attorney John Gainer of the public defender corporation, appeared for a scheduled plea hearing.
Lewis was indicted by the June, 2015 term of the Grand Jury on seven felony and five misdemeanor counts for his involvement in crimes against two churches and two individuals one of which was his aunt. He had pleaded innocent to the charges on June 22, 2015 before Judge David W. Hummel, Jr. The crimes were alledged to have occurred in Tyler County in April and May of this year.
On Tuesday as part of a plea agreement he withdrew his not guilty plea to counts two, seven, nine and twelve of the indictment and entered a guilty plea to the charges. Count two is a felony offense charging Grand Larceny, count seven charges Petit Larceny a misdemeanor offense, count nine is a felony offense of breaking and entering a building other than a dwelling and count 12 charges him with daytime burglary a felony offense.
Prosecutor D. Luke Furbee said if the case were to proceed to trial the state would show that his office had received several complaints against Lewis and after investigation it was determined he was involved in the crimes against the Little United Methodist Church and the Smith Ridge Church, he had also committed crimes against two other individuals. He said he would also be able to use testimony of Gary Stewart who was also involved and has confessed to aiding an abetting. Furbee said Lewis also has been convicted of a felony in Wetzel Co. and in January 2014 was found to be in possession of a firearm while on parole. He said he also has a previous felony conviction in Tyler County.
When asked by Judge Cramer to tell the court what he did to make him guilty of the crimes he said, “I stole stuff to get money to buy my drugs, yes I committed grand larceny.”
He also admitted to the other three charges.
In exchange for his guilty plea to the four counts the remaining eight counts were dismissed. Judge Cramer followed the plea agreement and recommendation of the state and sentenced Lewis to and effective term of three to 20 years in the West Virginia Penitentiary for men. He was remanded to the custody of the division of corrections to begin serving the remainder of his term.
Caitlyn D. Tallman, 25, of Middlebourne, W.Va., was charged by the June term of the Tyler County grand jury on a two count felony indictment charging her with delivery of a controlled substance and conspiracy to commit an offense against the state, appeared before Judge Jeffery D. Cramer on Tuesday.
Tallman had pleaded innocent to the charges on June 22, before Judge David W. Hummel, Jr. On Tuesday she withdrew her not guilty plea and entered a plea of guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to commit an offense against the state by conspiring with another individual to deliver heroin. Her guilty plea came as part of a plea arrangement that would allow her to enter drug court and have count one of the indictment dismissed.
Prosecutor Furbee said that if the case were to proceed to trial he would show that on December 9, 2014 during an investigation the defendant was with Allen Murphy who has already confessed and is in prison. Furbee said the pair had gone to the Marathon Station in Paden City and sold the heroin to a cooperating witness in a controlled buy. He said the transaction was recorded by the cooperating witness. He said he would also provide testimony from law enforcement and Murphy.
When told by the Judge to tell the court what she had done, Tallman said she had a drug problem and had done nothing to get help, stating she was a part of delivering drugs.
Judge Cramer told Tallman she had been given a significant break, he said not to many people who deliver heroin get a break like this.
“You are maybe one in 100,” he said. He also gave her a stern warning that if she fails to complete drug court she will be brought back into court and more than likely be sent to prison.
Cramer, than followed the plea agreement and sentenced her to one to five years in prison which he suspended and placed her on two years of supervised probation and one year of drug court. He said if she successfully completes drug court and is successful in finishing her probation she may come back and petition the court to have her charge changed to a misdemeanor.
She was than ordered to be released and to report to the probation office to make arrangements for her probation and drug court.