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G-ICYMI™: Same-Sex Couple Gets License, Condemnation in Gilmer County

The Free Press WV
The Free Press WV

Samantha Brookover stood crying in the Gilmer County courthouse last week, humiliated on what was meant to be a celebratory occasion.

Brookover and her partner, Amanda Abramovich, wanted a marriage license. They got one—along with an earful from a deputy clerk in the office, who told them that their relationship was wrong and that God would judge them.

Brookover and Abramovich had expected maybe an eye roll, or some sign of disgust. They said they weren’t anticipating they would be told they were “an abomination.”

“It just takes one person to remind you how closed-minded our world is,” Brookover said.

Debbie Allen, the deputy clerk who processed their marriage license, and another deputy clerk who was there, Angela Moore, disputed some of the allegations from the couple and Brookover’s mother, Jill Goff, who was also there. They disagree on how loud Allen was, and whether the word “abomination” was used, although Moore said she couldn’t hear everything.

“I was working on what I was supposed to be doing and honestly I didn’t care to make eye contact with them,” Moore said.

The clerks don’t dispute that Allen told the couple was they were doing was wrong, and that they would be judged. But they also stressed that they did not view the statement as an “attack.”

“We did not attack them,” Allen said. “We did not yell at them. We were not aggressive with them. I felt I talked nicely to them.”

Brookover and Abramovich say that Allen huffed, took their driver’s licenses, made copies, slammed down the copies, then for two to three minutes, yelled that what they were doing was wrong, in her eyes and in God’s eyes, and that no one in Gilmer County would ever marry them.

The couple had brought family members. They had the camera ready. It was supposed to be a happy day.

Instead, in Brookover’s words, they were “flabbergasted and hurt and angry like you wouldn’t believe.”

Allen says she briefly and calmly told the couple what they were doing was wrong and that God would judge them, then continued assisting them as she would other couples.

“I just told them my opinion,” she said. “I just felt led to do that. I believe God was standing with me and that’s just my religious belief.”

Asked whether her words could possibly have been perceived as an attack to someone of another sexual orientation, who has been belittled because of it, Allen said, “Oh, I’m sure.”

She wouldn’t say how she would treat any future same-sex couples that arrive at the clerk’s office or whether she would attempt to use the West Virginia Religious Freedom Restoration Act, if it passes in the Legislature, to argue she shouldn’t have to give marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The bill, House Bill 4012, could allow people to argue in court that civil rights laws don’t apply to them because of their religious beliefs.

Goff had a phone conversation with Gilmer County Clerk Jean Butcher about the incident. Butcher said she told Goff that her religious beliefs were similar to Moore’s.

“They were issued the license and that was the main thing,” Butcher told the Gazette-Mail.

Abramovich and Brookover had already held a commitment ceremony, but they wanted to get health insurance together, and had to be married to do that.

While they obtained the license, they still feel that Allen didn’t properly perform her job.

“Someone at McDonald’s can’t refuse to give someone a cheeseburger because they’re a heart attack risk,” Abramovich said. “You’ve got to do your job. You can’t just scream at people.”

It wasn’t the first time the women were judged for their sexual orientations. They grew up in rural West Virginia. They went to high school together, but didn’t tell anyone that they were a couple until after graduation, for fear of how friends would respond. Abramovich said she was used to her stepfather being “a little hateful.”

“But to have a complete stranger — someone that doesn’t know me — scream like that, it really cut down to the bone,” she said.

Others, like Goff, have been accepting, although she said she did tell Brookover she felt sad when her daughter came out.

“She took that as I was ashamed,” Goff said. “I told her that it was not that. I love her with all my heart no matter what she does… What I said to her was I hate the way people are going to treat you. That makes me sad because for the rest of your life, you’re going to have to pay a price for this.”

~~  Erin Beck - Gazette-Mail ~~

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Debbie Allen should be fired immediately. Her job is to check citizen-applicants meet all legal requirement, process paperwork, and issue government licenses. If she wants to preach religious condemnation, she needs to do it on her time.

By Bill Jones  on  02.11.2016

Wow I Can believe that this happened. Most people believe in the bible and wanna live the “christian” way,but it also says that you should not judge others. People wake up stop judging, and actually live your christian ways. My question is did it affect your personal life,that people who are happy and in love be married?! Like geez its our right to do what we want!! I cannot wait to marry my wife we are absolutely happy and in love going on 6 years so come June 2017 Gilmer county clerks I’ll see ya then!!!

By Jamie Persinger  on  02.11.2016

Since they didn’t hold enough belief not to give the license why didn’t they do what they do to everybody else. Give the license then trash talk them when they leave.
It’s not right to take a government paycheck and treat the customers bad.

By Albe W  on  02.11.2016

I live in Gilmer County, and I will marry them. I am an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church. Samantha & Amanda, if you are reading this, I will give my contact info to the GFP to give to you, and I will marry you. I am so very sorry for the way you have been treated by the staff of our courthouse.

By Ms. Equality  on  02.11.2016

No, it was not God standing with that nasty woman.  It was the exact opposite.

Jesus was quite clear about how to treat ALL people (love them as yourself), particularly if they were among society’s outcasts. 

Do you think that if I went to the courthouse with a sack of rocks, and told her my religion insists that I stone witches, she’d oblige me by standing still?

By Hdonovan  on  02.12.2016

Frankly, I do not like this type of marriage, but who the hell am I to judge? God is THE ONLY judge. What we have here is a very very bad customer service. The county commissioners and the county clerk must take action on this immediately. All of you are getting paid by taxpayers’ money and must obey the laws of the land. If you do not like any of it and refuse to obey it then you should get the hell out of your positions. What a sad way to put the Gilmer County on the map! For a very poor customer service.

By Action is necessary  on  02.12.2016

1.  If ANY employee doesn’t want to do their job in a manner that represents Gilmer County in a positive light, employee needs to quit or be fired.  Period.

2.  This should be a lesson to the Commissioners to get their act together.  They are responsible for this action. Period.

3.  Shows a lack of training from employees immediate superior.  That person needs a reprimand from the Commission.

4.  This type of action is nothing new.  The court house employees are the most nosey, gossipy, I’m better than you are, collection of bodies in the county.  Not all.

5.  The attitude and the actions of the County Commissioners set the level of conduct for each and every employee in the court house.

How many lawsuits have the Commissioners paid and settled the past 8 years? How much has that cost taxpayers?

What ‘grade’ would you give the tax paid trio?

By reader12  on  02.12.2016

If we read the same book isn’t there something in there says all have sinned and fell short of the Glory of God and he who is without sin cast the first stone? Nothing about it being true if you only feel a certain way about something.

Action is necessary is right.  Public office should not be used as a bully pulpit.

By What's The Boss Doing About This?  on  02.12.2016

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G-Eye™: Gilmer County Commission Signs Willard F. Cottrill Estate

At the Gilmer County Commission meeting on Friday, February 05, 2016 the commissioners finished approving and signed the complex Willard F. Cottrill Estate and sent it to the Circuit Court per Judge Jack Alsop’s request.

Following is the video and the signed document:

The Free Press WV
The Free Press WV

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This final resolution of the long drawn out Cottrill Estate showed that when Gilmer County Public officials work together as a team and are determined, mountains can be moved. It practically took moving a mountain to finally. after years,finalize this estate. Does it really matter now who is to blame for the ordeal to have taken so long? This was a respectable resolve to a very difficult and complicated legal matter. I wish to thank the three commissioners for their diligence. For, even in the face of ridicule, they kept moving forward to get to the bottom of all the facts of a situation that was far from normal, and had a great potential to erupt into an unfortunate volatile situation. Thanks for your hard work and community consideration.

By Council of Concerned Citizens  on  02.11.2016

Yeah! for Willard.
Willard smiles, says ‘gotcha’...and pops a top!

By TOOK LONG ENOUGH  on  02.11.2016

Is it too late for justice for the A. J. Woofter estate?

The details would make an excellent story to inform local people what they must do with their wills to ensure that their last wishes are carried out as intended.

The AARP reported that about 50% of the last wills are not carried out as intended.

Reasons can include mistakes in wills from incompetent lawyers and unscrupulous lawyers and executors who get their hands on estates.

By A. J. Woofter Estate  on  02.11.2016

Willard won’t be truly happy and rest in peace until it’s ALL over and justice has come to those involved.  Just paying back the money to the Estate isn’t the answer.  There is much more of this story yet to come.

By reader44  on  02.11.2016

As a Concerned Citizen it is my duty to answer questions about the AJ Woofter Estate since I am the person that hired several attorneys to combat that matter and it was a very long fight. First Margaret Kreiner was an attorney she is a high ranking member of the Council on Aging and has a practice in Akron, Ohio. Then, I hired Greg Freeman who is also a federal attorney, he became frustrated with no response from the Butchers,etc. I retained Roger C**** for an expensive 5 figure amount of CASH and he was a powerful enough Attorney to finally get the estate closed. Tim B****** charged as much as #$10,850.00 per day for his services on the AJ Woofter Estate. The term my attorney used to describe this is calling padding his fees. I have the paperwork, letters etc and can publish these facts and prove it, and I already have in the past. Sheriff M*** was asked to get involved in some of the illegalities that could be PROVEN and HE ABSOLUTELY REFUSED!!.  He said, “I am not going to go over and bother those people” NOW I HAVE TO TELL YOU THAT THIS IS THE SAME SITUATION THAT HAS HAPPENED WITH THE WILLARD COTTRILL ESTATE -EXACTLY THE SAME DEAL - AND I HAVE SHARED THIS WITH A WELL KNOWN HOMICIDE DETECTIVE AND THAT NAME AND NUMBER IS ON RECORD WITH THE GFP. I GAVE HIM LINKS TO ALL OF THE COUNTLESS PUBLICATIONS AUTHORED LOCALLY AND HE AGREED WITH ME - AT THE LEAST A WRONGFUL DEATH OCCURRED - EMBEZZLEMENT DID HAPPEN AND POSSIBLE OTHER CRIMES. Please contact the GFP for more answers to your questions. We have them.

By TO: AJ Woofter Estate  on  02.11.2016

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G-FYI™: Changes Made in Way Judges, Magistrates Are Elected

The Free Press WV

A big change is in store for voters who head to the polls in May. The Primary Election, to be held on Tuesday, May 10, has traditionally been about political parties choosing their party nominees to face off in the November General Election.

For many offices this is still the case, but it is no longer true when it comes to the election of our judges from the State Supreme Court of Appeals to local magistrates.

As a result of changes in the state code enacted by the West Virginia Legislature last year, all judicial seats are now non-partisan. That is one big change in that it means that our judges will be elected in May as opposed to November.

Another change that resulted from the legislation is that circuit judges and magistrates will be elected by division. In Gilmer County one circuit judge will be elected from division one and one from division two. The same is true with magistrates, one will be elected in division one and another in division two.  A division is not a geographical district but is a position.

Traditionally multiple candidates might have run for these positions and the top vote getters from the group would be elected to the positions. This is no longer the case. With two circuit court divisions and two magistrate court divisions in Gilmer County the candidate with the top vote in each division will be elected.

Based on the filings for the office of circuit judge, both Judge Richard Facemire in division one and Judge Jack Alsop in division two will be re-elected as neither has any opposition. The same is true of Magistrate Carol L. Wolfe. No one filed to run against her in division one and as such she is running unopposed.

Incumbent Magistrate Alton L. Skinner II is being challenged for the division two position by Clarissa G. Ferrell and Pam Cutlip. The division two winner for magistrate will be the top vote getter in the race between Skinner, Ferrell and Cutlip.

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Judicial Circuit 14, Division 2 has 2 candidates filed:  Judge Jack Alsop and Hiram “Buck” Lewis IV.  Only one candidate will be elected in May.

By Sandy Pettit  on  02.09.2016

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Gilmer County Circuit Court Report

The Free Press WV

On Tuesday, January 26, 2016 Chief Judge Jack Alsop heard 2 cases in Gilmer County.

•  Carlos Harrison, a fugitive from justice from the state of Pennsylvania waived extradition to return to that state.

He was represented by Clinton Bischoff of Summersville and authorities in PA have until 4 PM on Thursday, February 04, 2016 to pick defendant up or Central Regional Jail will release him.

•  One juvenile matter was also heard.

•  Later in the morning Judge Richard A. Facemire came to Gilmer County to take a plea in the case of State of West Virginia vs. Andrew Taylor

Taylor was represented by Christopher Moffatt of Charleston and was going to plead to one felony count of conspiracy but Judge Facemire rejected that plea and in the 2nd plea Taylor also pled to the misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance.

Sentencing will be 9:30 AM Thursday, March 17, 2016.

On Monday, January 25, 2016 Judge Richard A. Facemire presided over his regular motion day in Gilmer County.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Austin Biro

He was before the Court for revocation of probation, however due to his attorney not appearing it was continued until Monday, February 22, 2016 at 10:10 AM and the attorney, Garth Beck, was summoned to appear and show cause why he failed to appear.

•  Eleven juvenile cases were heard.

•  A motion to dismiss was heard and denied in the civil case of Steve Husk Bs. Eagle Oil Field Service.

A scheduling order was then entered by Judge Facemire with pretrial to occur on Monday, August 22, 2016 at 10:00 AM and trial to be Tuesday, September 20, 2016 at 9:00 AM.

Both attorneys were from out of area, namely John Atkinson of Charleston represents plaintiff, and Larry Rector of Bridgeport for the defense.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Kevin Curry

He was before the Court for suppression hearing and revocation of bond.

Perry Bonding (who was instrumental in apprehending and jailing Curry) was granted a bail piece and was dismissed from forfeiture hearing.

Amy Self has retained Steve Nanners to represent her regarding revocation of her heretofore posted bond on behalf of Curry, and Nanners was unable to appear on this date and will appear on Monday, February 22, 2016 at 10:30 AM.

The matter was also continued on behalf of WeSpring Bail Bonds out of Jane Lew who had also bonded Curry.

Curry is represented in the matter by Bernard Mauser of Sutton and later in the day he entered a guilty plea to a felony of conspiracy as charged in count 2 of the indictment, a misdemeanor plea to possession of a controlled substance in count 4 of the indictment and pled guilty to a felony information charge filed against him for obtaining goods or services under false pretenses.

Sentencing will be 9:15 AM on Thursday, March 17, 2016.

•  Robert Potter entered a plea to 2 counts in his case with the remainder of the counts against him being dismissed.

He pled to a felony count of fleeing with reckless disregard and a misdemeanor count of driving while license revoked.

His case was referred to probation officer Mike Haley for a presentence investigation and his sentencing will be Thursday, March 17, 2016 at 9:00 AM.

He was represented by Melissa Roman of Buckhannon, WV.

Gilmer County Family Court Report

The Free Press WV

•  On Wednesday, January 21, 2016 Family Court Judge Larry Whited divorced Rachel Clark (36) of Weston, WV from John Clark (36) of Parkersburg, WV.

•  On Wednesday, December 30, 2015 Family Court Judge Larry Whited held Family Court in Gilmer County and heard 3 domestic violence matters.

Gilmer County Commission Makes Its Decision on Lingering Cottrill Estate

The Free Press WV
The Free Press WV

Once again the Willard F. Cottrill Estate issue was on the Gilmer County Commission’s agenda for the meeting on Friday, January 22, 2016.
There have been many issues involved in this estate going from Magistrate Court to Circuit Court and even to The WV Supreme Court of Appeals which made it difficult for the Commission to make a decision.
Following an order from the Gilmer County Circuit Court, Commissioners had 120 days to make a decision.
Gilmer County Prosecutor Gerry Hough laid out the options to the Commission. After discussion, the following decision was made by the Commission:
Since all the heirs except Marlea Cottrill had contested the will and in violation of the will, have disqualified themselves from the estate. Marlea Cottrill is entitled to the entire estate and Ruth Mitchell can stay in the house as long as she desires.
Please see the details below and in the video:

Willard F. Cottrill passed away on October 20, 2010.

His last will and testament was admitted to probate November 05, 2010 and recorded in Will Book No. 40, at page 427, Gilmer County Clerk’s Office.

By looking at Willard F. Cottrill will, it states:

“I direct that a residence on the said property be provided to my companion, Ruth Mitchell, for as long as she chooses to so reside, with this provision becoming void should she at any time choose or need to live elsewhere. Said residency shall not preclude divestiture of the property by my heirs, and is not intended to establish a life tenancy. “

Factual Background: Part One

  1. The property referred to in the is located in Linn, Gilmer County, West Virginia, as described by the deed recorded in Deed Book 370, at page 715, in the Office of the County Clerk, Gilmer County, West Virginia.

  2. Michael W. Murphy, Executor of the Estate of Willard F. Cottrill filed, with three estate heirs, a civil suit No. 1 l-C-20 in Gilmer County Circuit Court to ‘quiet title’ regarding the interest of Ms. Ruth Mitchell, the decedent’s companion. In that suit, the plaintiffs asked the Court to (a) declare that Ruth Mitchell has no right, title or interest in the property, and (b) order Ruth Mitchell to vacate the property.

  3. The Court granted Ruth Mitchell and Marlea Cottrill summary judgment in that civil suit and, during the motion hearing on the summary judgment hearing, the Court asked Plaintiff the question:

    • “ Well, let me ask you, though, one thing that you -part of that seems to me that you ignore that the decedent clearly wanted the terms and conditions of this will carried out as written and it says that nobody can contest this will and they’re not going to get anything; isn’t that true?“

    • After Michael Murphy and the three plaintiffs agreed that provision was in the will, the Court went on:

    • “And so I mean the situation is isn’t that close to what your clients are doing is contesting the provision in the will that says his companion is to live on the property?“

  4. The Court was referring to Article X of the Willard F. Cottrill will, which is an in terrorum clause as follows:

    • “If any beneficiary under this will contests this will or any of its provisions, any share or interest in my estate given to a contesting beneficiary under the will is revoked and shall be disposed of as if that contesting beneficiary had not survived.“

  5. To make matters worse, Executor Michael Murphy and the three beneficiaries who lost their lawsuit to oust Ms. Mitchell decided to appeal Judge Alsop’s Gilmer County decision to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. In the Supreme Court of Appeals Memorandum Decision filed October 18, 2013, Judge Alsop’s decision in favor of Ruth Mitchell and Marlea Cottrill was affirmed. The Supreme Court wrote, that, “The relief that petitioners sought beyond clear title - that is, ejectment - is wholly inconsistent with the decedent’s directive that respondent be provided a residence.“ The legal bill for these actions totaled Twenty-Seven Thousand ($27,000.00) Dollars; Executor chose to charge one-fourth of that cost to Marlea Cottrill, who opposed the civil suit and appeal.


  1. The County Commission, in order to finalize and settle the Estate of Willard F. Cottrill, should find that the civil lawsuit and its appeal were contests to the provisions of the will.

  2. In accordance with the clear and unambiguous language of the will, those beneficiaries who contested the Article V, Section 2 provision of the will should be declared contesting beneficiaries, per Article X of the will.

  3. Any share or interest in the will already distributed to those contesting beneficiaries shall be refunded to the estate forthwith.

  4. That the sole non-contesting beneficiary to the will is Marlea Cottrill, and Ms. Cottrill shall be declared the sole beneficiary of the estate of WillardF.Cottrill.

  5. Any legal expense of the contesting lawsuit and its appeal shall be charged to the Executor and three co-plaintiffs/petitioners personally.

Factual Background: Part Two

In that aforementioned civil case of Michael Murphy, Executor etals v. Ruth Mitchell and Marlea Cottrill, 1 l-C-20, Circuit Judge Alsop held that, “...the Court finds the heirs who have inherited the property in dispute in this matter have a vested interest in said property.“ This finding was affirmed by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals and field on October 18, 2013.

Based upon the provisions of the Willard F. Cottrill will, three of the beneficiaries entered a Purchase Agreement executed September 26 and 28, 2013 with Richard and Peggy Neal, recorded in Gilmer County Deed Book 520, at page 11, proposing to sell 38+ acres of the 43.66 acres owned by the Willard F. Cottrill heirs for Forty Thousand ($40,000.00) Dollars, with $25,000.00 paid as a cash down payment, with terms for the balance of $15,000.00 at $250.00 monthly for five years.

There was a Supplemental Land Agreement dated October 21, 2013 recorded in Gilmer County Deed Book No. 520, at page 13, between Buyers Richard and Peggy Neal and three heirs of Willard F. Cottrill - Mark Cottrill, Alan Cottrill, and Venita Murphy, Sellers. Buyers, in lieu of the monthly installments previously agreed to, were to transfer ownership of a 1968 Chevrolet RS/SS Camaro, in ‘excellent condition’ to the Sellers.

The Sellers agreed to grant unto Buyers first right of refusal to adjoining 1.9 acres with a two story wood frame house and Sellers agreed to forgo rent payments for a period of one and one-half years. There was no money from the sale of this property deposited into the estate and little information is available concerning the Camaro, its value or its whereabouts.

In a civil action styled Marlea Cottrill v. Richard Neal, a copy of the West Virginia DMV Bill of Sale from Richard D. Neal, owner of a 1968 Camaro, values that vehicle at $20,400, with notations of $15,000.00 for the balance of payment of the $40,000.00 and $5,400.00 for trailer rent on the 1.9 acres. Also filed in that matter were two receipts between Richard D. Neal and Mark Cottrill, one for $25,000.00 and the other for $15,000.00, with notations assigning the consideration paid for.

On April 28, 2015, Richard D. Neal and Peggy A. Neal filed a deed granting them 42.31 acres as surveyed, on Little Ellis Run, Gilmer County, executed by three heirs, Mark Cottrill, Alan Cottrill, and Venita Murphy. Said deed is recorded in Deed Book 53 8, at page 410 in the Gilmer County Clerk’s Office. Noticeably vacant is the signature line for Marlea (Cottrill) Hageman.

The aforementioned deed contains a disclaimer by the scrivener, emphasizing that no title examination was performed prior to drafting and execution of the same. The language of the deed grants unto the Neals ‘with covenants of General Warranty’ and purports to convey all the grantors’ interest in and to the acreage surveyed. A plat of the survey, completed by S. Patrick Roberts of Elk Land Management, is recorded in Plat Book 5, at page 93, in the Office of the Gilmer County Clerk.

Article V, Section of the will provides that,

“...with the further declaration that if any of my children attempt to circumvent these provisions to the detriment of the others, then that person shall forfeit any and all claims to this property and said property shall be divided among the remaining children.“


The County Commission, in order to resolve this matter equitably with priority to honoring the express, written preferences of the decedent, Willard F. Cottrill, must decide whether to follow Recommendation # 1. If the Commission concludes that the three heirs joined Executor Murphy in contesting the will, their estate benefits shall be divested. All cash distributions from the estate to Mark Cottrill, Alan Cottrill, and Venita Murphy must be returned to the estate forthwith.

If the County Commission concludes that there was no will contest regarding Ruth Mitchell but that the real estate sale and conveyance was an attempt by the three heirs, Mark Cottrill, Alan Cottrill, and Venita Murphy to circumvent the will provisions to the detriment of Marlea Cottrill, the three heirs’ interests in the real property devised shall be vested in Marlea Cottrill alone.

The County Commission must look to the real estate conveyance to the Neals as void ab initio, and the Neals’ purchase consideration must be refunded to the Neals by the three excluded heirs - from their personal accounts, with an adequate reimbursement to the Neals for the survey cost.

If the County Commission finds that the real estate sale and transfer was somehow valid/enforceable and not reversible in equity, then the transfer shall be classified as a conveyance of three-fourths interest in the surface and three-fourths interest in the mineral interest described in the 42.31 acres deed of record. The remaining one-fourth interest in both surface and the mineral title shall inure to Marlea Cottrill, as well as full title to the residue tract of 1.3 5 acres and a double wide mobile home.

In such a proposed settlement, the County Commission must decide whether the three divested heirs owe substantial disbursement monies as well as a portion of the purchase price paid by Neals in cash for the acreage, with credit for the ‘assigned value’ of the 1968 Camaro.

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Gerry Hough did a top notch job researching the files at the courthouse and made several trips to gather the information about the estate, but he was incorrect about one matter. Marlea Cottrill DID HIRE AN ATTORNEY early on, it was F JOHN OSHOWAY. Oshoway completely botched the case, did no work, and the Office of Disciplinary Counsel had to step in and end the dispute. Oshoway had to pay money back to Marlea Cottrill.

This case has been so complicated from the beginning that Hough could have easily overlooked this, for the reason it would not have shown up pertaining to researching the title, docket numbers of civil actions etc—AND for the reason that Oshoway was retained, but brought no action, so his name would not be able to be researched, that being said, Gerry would have no idea about Oshoway being brought in unless he would have read the article in the West Virginia Record where F John Oshoway, the lawyer FAMOUS for being late to court in Gilmer County, was fronted out for all of his misconduct and wrongdoing pertaining to the Cottrill Estate.

By Concerned Citizens  on  01.27.2016

Justice has been served in Gilmer County. Many thanks to all.

They say “Patience is a virtue” and in this case, that proves to be true.

By MC  on  01.27.2016

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Gilmer County Circuit Court Report

The Free Press WV

On Friday, January 15, 2016 Judge Richard A. Facemire presided over Circuit Court in Gilmer County all day.

•  One fugitive from justice from the state of Pennsylvania, Matthew Carney, waived extradition to return to his state.

He was represented by Kevin Hughart of Sissonville and authorities have until 4:00 PM Wednesday, January 27, 2016 to pick him up or entral Regional Jail will release him.

•  State of West Virginia vs. David Finley

He was sentenced to 1-5 years in the state penitentiary with sentence suspended and given 5 years probation and 6 months home confinement.

He was assessed court costs but no fine and has to do 150 hours of community service.

Special prosecutor Shannon Johnson represented the state in the matter with David Karickhoff of Sutton represented defendant.

•  Three juvenile matters were heard.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Kevin Curry

He was before the Court for pretrial motions and bond forfeiture, but due to the absence of Curry neither were heard.

Curry was represented by Bernard Mauser of Sutton.

Religious Freedom Arguments Used To Weaponize The First Amendment

The Free Press WV

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer peered over the bench at the lawyer and all but said he just didn’t buy it. “You will go out this door, and you will buy hundreds of things, if not thousands, where money will go from your pocket into the hands of people, including many government people, who will spend it on things you disagree with,” Breyer told attorney Michael Carvin at oral argument last week.

Breyer was questioning the logic behind the case the court was hearing that morning, Friedrichs v. California Teachers’ Association, a challenge to union fees brought by teachers and a conservative Christian educators’ association. They say their First Amendment rights are being violated by being  required to pay a union for collective bargaining. But Breyer could have been talking about any number of conservative legal claims, even if they cite different laws. Phrased as a desire to opt out, these arguments are pushing the boundaries of what counts as expression of speech or religion, and what violates it.

“You’re seeing an increasing tendency to use the First Amendment or First Amendment-like arguments by conservatives as a way of resisting various forms of regulation or progressive regulation,” said Samuel Bagenstos, a law professor at the University of Michigan Law School who oversaw civil rights at the Justice Department in the Obama administration. “The arguments that might have in the past come under the heading of ‘property rights’ or ‘freedom of contract’ now are coming under the heading of ‘free speech’ or ‘free association’ or ‘religious freedom.’”  

That phenomenon includes Hobby Lobby v. Burwell, the 2014 case in which a corporation successfully claimed its religious rights were being violated by having to cover contraception on its employee insurance plan. And this term, it includes the follow-up to Hobby Lobby, Zubik v. Burwell, which could take religious refusal to a whole new place. The plaintiffs, who are nonprofit schools and charities with religious affiliations, already don’t have to pay for contraceptive coverage. But they argue that what the Obama administration calls an opt-out form is actually conscripting them in helping employees get “abortion pills,” known to most people and the medical community as birth control. Citing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a law that sought to strengthen First Amendment protections, the groups also object to even contracting with an insurance company that is giving other people contraception.

“The legal issues in the two are distinct, but both seek to roll back important protections in the name of expressive or religious rights,” said Daniel Mach, director of the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief.

And that’s just what has reached the Supreme Court. In lower and state courts, religious objectors, largely Catholic and Protestant Christians, are asking to be exempted from anti-discrimination law so they can refuse service at same-sex couples’ weddings. Some Catholic universities have asked for religious exemptions to block adjunct professors from unionizing at their institutions, notwithstanding the Vatican’s longtime and explicit support of unions. Hobby Lobby isn’t their only win: In 2012, the Supreme Court allowed a Lutheran school to be exempt from the Americans with Disabilities Act, because the school said a teacher counted as a minister.

Of course, to the proponents of broader religious exemptions, including Republican presidential candidates, this is nothing new — just American tradition. Answering Breyer at the Supreme Court that morning, Carvin, the attorney for the teachers who said union fees violate their First Amendment rights, said, “As to requiring people to give money to [that] which they don’t wish to give, Thomas Jefferson said that was sinful and tyrannical. James Madison famously said, requiring three pence is the thing. So it’s not at all something that we’ve invented.”

But Carvin was asking the court to accept a First Amendment argument it rejected nearly 40 years ago. Just about every legal observer thinks Carvin’s side will win and the precedent that the union fees don’t violate the First Amendment will fall. Something has changed — and liberal legal scholars fear where that change is heading.

The plaintiffs in these cases aren’t asking the courts to dissolve unions, repeal the Affordable Care Act or its contraceptive coverage requirement, or reverse the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision. “Although Petitioners, as Roman Catholic entities, disagree with the Government’s goal of providing the mandated coverage, they do not challenge the legality of this goal,” some of the plaintiffs in Zubik wrote in their brief, adding, “Rather, Petitioners ask only that they not be forced to participate in this regulatory scheme in a way that violates their religious beliefs.”

The law says that government cannot “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion.” One of the disputes at the heart of Zubik is who decides what burden is substantial and what isn’t. The objectors say that as long as they can show their objection is genuine, they get the final word on the question. “If a religious adherent sincerely believes that taking a particular action would make him complicit in the sin of another, then courts must defer to that belief,” they wrote in their brief. The action in question: Filling out a short form that certifies their objection to the insurer or the government.

But in the contraceptive cases, the Obama administration, and almost every federal appeals court to rule on the cases so far, argue that’s not what the religious freedom law says — or how the form in question works. They contend that insurance plans cover contraceptives by default, so the opt-out form isn’t “triggering” anything. And they say that it’s not so simple as declaring your objection.  

“If the Court is going to relieve religious employers” of their obligations, wrote Brigham Young University law professor Frederick Gedicks, “then obviously the Court itself needs to police the boundaries of that exception, lest employers push those boundaries so far that the exception swallows the rule.”

The four Democratic appointees on the court made it clear how they felt on the question in a preview of the case, when the court temporarily blocked Wheaton College from complying with the contraceptive opt-out in 2014. “Not every sincerely felt ‘burden’ is a ‘substantial’ one,” wrote Justice Sonia Sotomayor, “and it is for courts, not litigants, to identify which are.”

The exception swallowing the rule is precisely the fear that liberals have about these exemption claims. The plaintiffs in Zubik have suggested alternate ways for the government to help women to get contraception under the Affordable Care Act “without involving Petitioners,” such as a “‘public option’ to provide ‘contraception insurance’” or expanding the federal Title X program for low-income women.

But while the court doesn’t have to consider whether something is politically feasible, the facts on the ground suggest women who work for objecting institutions aren’t about to get their federal contraception cards anytime soon. Many congressional Republicans fiercely oppose the very existence of the Title X program, as well as its major beneficiary, Planned Parenthood. The “public option” for any health insurance at all, let alone one specifically related to women’s contraception, didn’t get very far the last time Congress considered it, with far more favorable numbers for liberals.

But give public employees the right to opt out of paying fees for collective bargaining, and union resources and power shrink. Poke holes in what was touted as seamless health care coverage, ensuring access to people who were previously uncovered, and it doesn’t look so seamless. Allow religious reasons to opt out of anti-discrimination law and leave the most vulnerable unprotected.

If the plaintiffs succeed, it will be partly because social conservatives will have successfully cast themselves as oppressed by the whim of the majority. “When opponents of such laws have been unable to block them entirely, they have invoked claims of religious liberty and shifted from speaking as a majority seeking to enforce traditional morality to speaking as a minority seeking exemptions from laws that depart from traditional morality,” Yale Law professor Reva Siegel and University of California law professor Douglas NeJaime recently wrote. “In this way, they can appeal to pluralism and non-discrimination to justify limiting the recently recognized rights of other citizens.”

Bagenstos agrees. “It puts liberals who have traditionally been defenders of free speech on the defensive,” he says. It doesn’t hurt that Justice Anthony Kennedy, the deciding vote in many cases, is very sympathetic to First Amendment claims.

Georgetown Law professor Robin West has written that the newly broad exemption claims create “separate sovereignties,” which try to create an entirely separate regime where religious law prevails. That, she wrote, “sometimes come with profound costs to the weaker members within them, who no longer enjoy the protection of the law against the possibly abusive practices of the stronger members of their separate sovereign community.”

A legal precedent that says a “substantial burden” on religion is whatever the religious objector says it is “could open the floodgates to allow religious objectors to deny important rights and benefits to a great number of people in a variety of contexts,” says Mach. He added, “There is a history in this country of people seeking a religious exemption from a non-discrimination rule. It would be new if they prevailed.”

~~  Irin Carmon ~~

City of Glenville Police Report - December 2015

The Gilmer Free Press
City of Glenville, WV Police Report - December 2015
Crime/Ordinance Violation
Speak to an officer Huffman Crime occurred outside of City limits instructed the subject to contact Sheriffs Department or State Police Glenville
Property Removal Huffman Assist subject in getting their property Whiting Ave
Alarm Investigation Huffman Everything Secure Family Dollar
Juvenile with tobacco Huffman 2 juveniles Cited for Minor in Possession of Tobacco Gilmer County High School
Front Door to a house open Huffman Door was opened I checked the house no one was there I Secured the house and cleared the scene Dolliver Street
Speak to an officer Huffman Advised the subject that I don’t have a criminal investigation open on the case so I couldn’t give her an answer she needed to talk to the investigating agency South Street
Juvenile in Possession of Tobacco Huffman Subject Cited for Minor in Possession of an E-Cig Gilmer County High School
Speeding Huffman Warnings Issued for Speeding and Unsigned Registration N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Warnings Issued for Speeding and Unsigned Registration N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Warnings Issued for Speeding and Unsigned Registration N. Lewis Street
Vehicle Unlock Huffman Vehicle Unlocked W. Main Street
Panic Alarm Huffman Was Stood down Prior to my arrival Magistrates Office
Parking Complaint Huffman Vehicles moved from area College Street
Parking Complaint Huffman Vehicle moved off Sidewalk College Street
Speeding Garrett Cited W. Main Street
Cell Phone while Driving Huffman Cited for texting while driving and Warnings Issued for Expired Registration and Unsigned Registration S. Lewis Street
Motor Vehicle Accident Huffman Accident Report Completed Mineral Road
Warrant Service Huffman Arrested subject on 31 warrants Circuit Court
Speeding Garrett Cited for Speeding, Driving While Suspended 1st Offense, No Proof of Insurance, and No Proof of Registration N. Lewis Street
Speeding Garrett Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Garrett Cited W. Main Street
Speeding Garrett Cited for Speeding and Driving while Suspended 1st offense N. Lewis Street.
Speak to an officer Huffman Spoke to subject and they advised they didn’t want to file criminal charges yet but would if the issue continued W. Main Street
Vehicle Unlock Huffman Vehicle Unlocked Lilly Pond Lane
Speeding Garrett Waring N. Lewis Street
Motor Vehicle Accident Garrett Accident Report Completed and Warning Issued for Failure to Maintain Control E. Main Street
Speeding Garrett Cited W. Main Street
Defective Equipment Garrett Warnings issued for Defective Equipment and Unsigned Registration W. Main Street
Defective Equipment Garrett Warnings issued for Defective Equipment and Unsigned Registration College Street
Man in roadway Garrett Subject had already gotten out of the roadway prior to my arrival N. Lewis Street
Speak to an officer Huffman Advised subject it was a civil matter that he needed to speak to a lawyer about Go Mart
Speak to an officer Garrett Subject refused to come to Glenville to give a statement and file a police report about possible sexting from a juvenile Glenville
Inactive B&E Garrett CI started Sycamore Road
Speeding Huffman Warnings Issued for Speeding, Improper Display, and Unsigned Registration N. Lewis Street
Defective Equipment Huffman Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Warnings Issued for Speeding and unsigned Registration N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Warnings Issued for Speeding and No Proof of Insurance N. Lewis Street
Defective Equipment Huffman Warnings Issued for Defective Equipment and No Proof of Registration N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Warnings Issued for Speeding, Defective Equipment, and Unsigned Registration N. Lewis Street
Defective Equipment Huffman Warning Issued for Defective Equipment x2 N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Huffman Cited N. Lewis Street
Speeding Garrett Warnings Issued for Speeding and Unsigned Registration W. Main Street
Speeding Garrett Warning Issued for Speeding and Unsigned Registration W. Main Street

Gilmer County Clerk: Notice to Creditors and Beneficiaries




The administration of the estates(s) of the following deceased is pending before the Clerk of the County Commission of Gilmer County, 10 Howard Street, Glenville WV 26351.

The names and addresses of the personal representative and the personal representative’s attorney are set forth below.

Notice is hereby given that the estate(s) of the following has been opened for probate.  Any interested person objecting to the validity of the will, the qualifications of the personal representative or the venue or jurisdiction of the court, shall file notice of an objection with the County Commission within ninety days after the date of the first publication or within 30 days of service of notice, whichever is later.  If an objection is not timely filed, the objection is forever barred.

All persons having claims against the estate(s) of the said following deceased, whether due or not, are notified to exhibit their claims, with the voucher thereof, legally verified, to the undersigned, at the County Clerk’s Office on or before March 15, 2016  otherwise they may by law be excluded from all benefit of said estate(s).  All beneficiaries of said estate(s) may appear on or before said day to examine said claims and otherwise protect their interests.

Claims against the estate must be filed in accordance with West Virginia Code 44-1-14a.


Wilodene B. Brown Sheriff Larry Gerwig 10 Howard Street
Glenville, WV 26351
Deana Diane Singleton Debra L. Leeson 3559 Taylor Drain Road
West Union, WV 26456
Agnes Marie Skinner Reta B. Kight 414 Kanawha Street
Glenville, WV 26351

Clerk of Gilmer County Commission
Jean Butcher
10 Howard Street
Glenville, WV 26351

The date of the first publication of this Notice is : January 14, 2016

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report

The Free Press WV

On Friday, January 08, 2016 Judge Richard A. Facemire held Court in Gilmer County. One juvenile matter was rescheduled. One domestic violence was dismissed.

Four pleas were taken as follows:

•  Jason Rousch

He pled to conspiracy and was represented by Brian Bailey of Buckhannon.

Later he asked to be sentenced without benefit of a presentence investigation and Judge Facemire obliged him and sentenced him to 1-5 in the penitentiary with no fine but he must pay court costs within 18 months of his release.

•  John Lambros

Who was represented by Timothy Gentilozzi of Clarksburg pled guilty to unlawful shooting, a misdemeanor which was a lesser included offense in his indictment.

The plea agreement was filed as was a waiver of indictment and an information charging this and the Judge took the matter of dismissing the felony under advisement.

A presentence investigation was ordered and he will be sentenced Monday, Feburary 22, 2016 at 9:45 AM.

•  Ronald Adkins Jr.

Who was represented by Kevin Hughart of Sissonville pled to fleeing and 2 misdemeanor charges of driving suspended 2nd offense and failure to maintain security.

A presentence investigation was ordered on him and he will be sentenced Monday, February 22, 2016 at 9:20 AM.

His motion to dismiss the felony charges was likewise taken under advisement pending sentencing.

•  An information was also filed in the case of Thomas Shaw and he subsequently pled to 2 misdemeanor charges of conspiracy and possession of a controlled substance.

Kevin Hughart was his attorney and a presentence report will be filed prior to sentencing on Monday, February 22, 2016 at 9:30 AM when his felony charges may also be dismissed.

On Monday, January 11, 2016 Chief Judge Jack Alsop heard several cases in Gilmer County.

Two fugitives waived extradition to their states.

•  Robert Casper waived to return to Virginia and Walter Jefferson waived to return to Pennsylvania.

Both men were represented by Bryan Hinkle of Buckhannon and authorities have until 4:00 PM on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 to pick them up at Central Regional Jail or they will be released.

•  7 juvenile matters were heard.

•  1 guardian case was heard.

•  Four adoptions were granted.

•  Three expungement cases were heard, 2 were granted and one was denied.

Two sentences were handed down as follows:

•  Damon Rice was sentenced 1-15 in the penitentiary for delivery of a controlled substance.

He was represented by Clinton Bischoff of Summersville.

•  Teresa Riggs, represented by Timothy Gentilozzi was sentenced 1-5 for her plea to delivery of a controlled substance

•  A reconsideration was denied for James Bailey who is currently serving time in the penitentiary and must serve 2 years before becoming eligible for parole.

Christopher Moffatt of Charleston represented Bailey.

WV AG Files Lawsuit Against Largest Prescription Drug Distributor in United States

The Free Press WV

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey today announced his filing of a lawsuit against McKesson Corporation, a prescription drug distributor, for allegedly failing to identify, detect, report and help stop the flood of suspicious drug orders into the state.

The lawsuit, filed today after an extensive investigation, states McKesson delivered approximately 99.5 million doses of hydrocodone and oxycodone to West Virginia between 2007 and 2012.

Many of those shipments allegedly fueled drug abuse across the state, an impact the lawsuit contends contributed to the nation’s highest overdose rate, decreased worker productivity and exhausted resources statewide.

“This action represents yet another major step by my office to fight a terrible affliction on our citizenry,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “We have carefully investigated this matter and believe that McKesson should be held responsible for its alleged failure to comply with the state’s laws.”

Hydrocodone and oxycodone orders were particularly astronomical in Logan County, where deliveries topped 10 million doses between 2007 and 2012 – far more than populous counties of Kanawha, Boone and Raleigh.

In fact, McKesson’s shipment of 10.2 million doses provided enough to give more than 276 doses to every man, woman and child in Logan County, particularly concerning as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates just 6.9 percent of adults – children excluded – take a prescription opioid at any given time.

The lawsuit depicts similar activity in Mingo County, where McKesson shipped 3.4 million doses in 2007 – enough to give each patient a dose of hydrocodone or oxycodone every 1 hour and 15 minutes when considering the CDC average and the company’s represented market share.

The lawsuit contends McKesson either failed to develop an adequate system to identify suspicious orders or blindly ignored such potential. Those actions netted large profits, which the corporation used in paying bonuses and additional commissions to incentivize more business.

Attorney General Morrisey alleges McKesson violated state consumer protection laws and failed to meet industry standards, such as knowing each drug store’s population base and their methods to ensure filled prescriptions meet a legitimate medical purpose.

The lawsuit contends McKesson only developed a plan to identify, detect, report and stop suspicious orders as result of two settlements with the federal government, the first of which involved significantly less pills than the corporation shipped to West Virginia.

“My decision today is an independent one, consistent with my duty to carefully examine evidence before filing a lawsuit,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “In this case, we issued a subpoena, enforced the subpoena and conducted a thorough investigation, before concluding that it was proper to file this action.”

The eight-count civil complaint, filed in Boone Circuit Court, highlights hydrocodone and oxycodone delivered to select counties, while the overall case focuses upon those drugs and several others distributed statewide.

The complaint seeks injunctive relief for violations of the state’s uniform controlled substances act, in addition to charging McKesson with negligent violation of law, intentional acts and omissions, public nuisance, negligence, unjust enrichment, violation of the state’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act and unfair methods of competition and/or unfair or deceptive acts or practices.

WV Supreme Court Sets 2016 Interest Rates on Judgments and Decrees

The Free Press WV

CHARLESTON, WV – The Administrative Office of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia has set the interest rate at 7.00 percent for judgments and decrees entered during the 2016 calendar year.

A law passed in the 2006 legislative session requires the Administrative Office of the Supreme Court annually to determine the interest rate to be paid upon judgments or decrees for the payment of money, including pre-judgment interest.

The law, West Virginia Code 56-6-31, went into effect on January 01, 2007. It requires the pre-judgment interest rate to be three percentage points above the Fifth Federal Reserve District secondary discount rate in effect on the second day of January of the year in which the judgment or decree is entered. The law also says the rate cannot exceed 11 percent per year or be less than seven percent per year.

The main bank for the Fifth Federal Reserve District is the Fifth Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond, VA. That bank’s secondary discount rate on January 02, 2015, was 1.5 percent.

When combined with the statutorily mandated increase of three percentage points, this would create an interest rate for the year 2016 that would be less than the statutorily mandated minimum of seven percent, with the result that the rate of interest for West Virginia decrees and judgments for the payment of money entered on or after January 01, 2016, is the minimum 7.00 percent.

The law also requires the Administrative Office to notify promptly the courts and members of the West Virginia State Bar of the rate of interest in effect for each calendar year.

The Supreme Court has notified the Bar and posted the rate information on the West Virginia Judiciary website, News & Publications page.

The public may contact Administrative Counsel Kirk Brandfass at the Administrative office of the Supreme Court for further information at 304.558.0145.

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report

The Free Press WV

On Tuesday, January 05, 2016 the Gilmer county Circuit court was in session.

•  Chief Judge Jack Alsop held a juvenile matter in chambers in Gilmer County.

•  Judge Richard A. Facemire worked on other criminal matters.

He had a jury report in at 10:00 AM to begin the trial of State of West Virginia vs. Gary P. Ferrell

Ferrell, who was represented by Timothy Gentilozzi of Clarksburg, decided to enter a plea after the jury was excused for the lunch hour.

The jurors reported back at 1:15 PM and at 1:45 PM he pled guilty and the Judge released the jurors.

•  On Wednesday, January 06, 2015 Chief Judge Jack Alsop returned for another juvenile matter.

•  On Friday, January 08, 2016 Judge Facemire will again preside over Court in Gilmer County.

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report

The Free Press WV

On Tuesday, December 22, 2015 Chief Judge Richard A. Facemire held Court in Gilmer County through the afternoon.

•  Two fugitives from justice waived extradition to their home states.

Anthony Thompson waived to return to Maryland with Jonathan Fuller waiving to return to Virginia.

Both were represented by Melissa Roman of Buckhannon and authorities in their states had until 4 p.m. Sunday, December 27, 2015 to pick them up at Central Regional Jail or they would be released.

•  Three juvenile matters were heard.

Various criminal matters were heard:

•  State of West Virginia vs. Andrew Taylor

He had a pretrial hearing and his case remains on the trial docket for January 5th. He is represented by Christopher Moffatt of Charleston

•  State of West Virginia vs. Kevin Curry

He was in Court for arraignment on his new indictment and to have bond set and/or reduced.

In the boundover matters from magistrate Court his bond was $1,250,000.00 cash only and he is represented by court appointed attorney Kevin Hughart of Sissonville.

Bernard Mauser appeared and was retained as counsel in the Circuit Court matters.

Mauser is from Sutton and Curry’s bond was lowered to $150,000.00 cash or surety and home confinement.

He will have a suppression hearing on Friday, January 15, 2016 and his trial is currently set for Tuesday, January 26, 2016.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Randall Lambey

He was before the Court for revocation of his probation.

Judge Facemire sentenced him to one year in Central Regional Jail and suspended the sentence and placed him on home confinement in Clay County.

He is to pay at least $100.00 on child support arrears per month.

He made admission to paragraph 3 of the revocation and Clinton Bischoff of Summersville stood in as his attorney in place of Andrew Chattin who was unable to appear.

•  State of West Virginia vs. William Hardman

He appeared by video arraignment from Central Regional Jail asking for his bond to be reduced.

Judge Facemire reduced his bond to $500,000.00 surety with home confinement.

Hardman is represented by Clinton Bischoff and special prosecuting attorney Steve Jones is representing the state.

•  State of West Virginia vs. James C. Miller

He was before the Court with his attorney Valentina Wheeler, and after successfully completing the program at Anthony Center for Youthful Offenders he was placed on 5 years probation in Gilmer County.

However, he has a sentence to serve in Nicholas County first.

•  Judge Facemire also heard and granted an infant settlement in a case involving a car accident.

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