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Tyler County Courthouse Has Busy Day

By Staff | Aug 23, 2017

The Tyler County Courthouse was busy last week as Judge David W. Hummel Jr, heard several cases in Tyler County Circuit Court.

Steven M. Chaplin stood before Judge Hummel on his five count indictment for domestic battery, driving under the influence of a controlled substance, fourth degree arson, domestic battery, and violation of a protective order. Chaplin pleaded not guilty to all five counts. Chaplin’s defense attorney requested more time for discovery which was granted. Chaplin’s pre-trial hearing is scheduled for September 11.

Mykal Lawrence Johnson had been previously charged with the felony of “Grand Larceny” by unlawfully stealing, taking and carrying away certain property, having a value of more than one thousand dollars. He made a plea bargain with the court system where he would admit guilt of the offense. Johnson had reportedly taken his fathers truck and would not return the vehicle. Johnson also had taken several credit cards for personal gain. Johnson was ordered to attend and complete drug court to be followed by probation. Upon completion of drug court and probation, Johnson will have the ability to plea down to a misdemeanor offense.

David Gene Wade was previously given a three count indictment for “Sexual Assault in the First Degree”, “Incest”, and “Sexual Assault in the First degree” where Wade allegedly unlawfully and feloniously engaged in sexual activity with a minor. The defense requested time for discovery which was granted. Wade was advised by Judge Hummel that someone had contacted the witness and threatened to harm them should they testify. Judge Hummel sternly made the point that if Wade either directly or indirectly contacted the witness then Wade’s bond would be revoked and Wade would be incarcerated until this trial date which is set for September 22.

Keenan Spencer Slampak and Erin Nichole McCracken were previously indicted for the felony offenses of “Conspiracy to Commit an Offense Against the State”, “Burglary”, and “Grand Larceny” where they broke into a home during the daytime and stole several items totaling a value of approximately 4,500 dollars. McCracken had given a recorded statement to police officers but she challenged the nature that it was a voluntary statement. Judge Hummel listened to the testimony of an officer who interviews McCracken and Hummel stated that McCracken could challenge the statement during the trial which is scheduled for September 22.

Kevin D. Leek had previously been indicted for “Nighttime Burglary” and “Grand Larceny” and was present for his pre-trial. Both the prosecution and defense stated that discovery has been made and the trial is scheduled for August 27.

Kristen M. Cross stood before Judge Hummel on a Rule 35 which is correcting or reducing a sentence. Cross has been in the drug court program for almost a year now and has applied several times for an appeal. They have all been turned down previously. Judge Hummel stated that he was willing to let her out of incarceration to be placed on probation this time. Cross stated that she had been in drug court too long not to graduate and so she requested to go back so that she may graduate in two weeks. She is to supply Judge Hummel with her receipt of completion where he will place her on probation for no less than 36 months at the discretion of the probation officer. He will also instill a a home plan to help Cross stay clean. If Cross fails probation, she will have to serve out the rest of her term in incarceration.

Spencer C. Billings was in court on a motion to accept a guilty plea. Billings had previously been charged with “Possession with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance (Marijuana).” Billings failed a condition of his parole when he failed a drug test in May for Marijuana. Prosecuting Attorney Luke Furbee suggested that Billings be incarcerated for 60 days. Judge Hummel revoked Billings’s bond and sent him to Northern Regional Jail for a period of 30 days with a deferral option.

Gary C. Kirkhart was in court for a preliminary hearing. His original sentence was 6 months for a misdemeanor offense but Kirkhart had violated his probation. Kirkhart requested that he be considered for drug court and be placed in a long term drug rehab facility. Kirkhart was sent back to jail until he can be accepted into a rehab center. Judge Hummel commented, ” One wants to go back to rehab and graduate; this guy wants admitted into rehab, that’s good stuff for the newspaper.”

Terry Harris was previously charged with the felony offense of “Delivery of a Controlled Substance” by unlawfully and feloniously delivering the narcotic drug Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen, a Schedule II controlled substance. Harris pleaded guilty and was ordered to return on August 30 for a motion to accept a guilty plea and sentencing.

Amanda R. Rice was given a three count indictment for “Delivery of a Controlled Substance”, “Possession of a Controlled Substance”, and “Delivery of a Controlled Substance” where she allegedly unlawfully and feloniously delivered methamphetamine, a Schedule II controlled substance, on two separate occasions. Rice admitted guilt by way of a plea agreement. The court agreed to prosecute one charge of delivery of a controlled substance, lessen another charge to 36 months probation, and drop the charge of possession of a controlled substance. Rice was sentenced to prison for no less than one no more than five years. Upon release she would be placed on 36 months of supervised probation.