Court News

Court News

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report – 07.10.13

The Gilmer Free Press

On Monday, July 08, 2013, 6 juvenile matters were heard by Judge Jack Alsop in Gilmer County and reset as follows:

•  Two for Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 9:30 AM

•  One for Wednesday, July17, 2013 at 9:30 AM

•  One for Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 9:00 AM

•  One for Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 9:45 AM

•  One for Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 10:00 AM

•  A motion for partial summary judgment was denied in a civil case between DC Petroleum Inc. vs. Christopher Haymond.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013 was the day for arraignments:

•  Ginger Persinger appeared with her attorney, Daniel Grindo of Gassaway.

She entered not guilty pleas to all counts of her indictment and her trial was continued to the next term of Court, that being in November, 2013.

She posted $25,000.00 bond and was released.

•  Rodney Singleton appeared for arraignment and further arraignment was set for him on
Friday, August 09, 2013 at 11:00 AM.

He has until Thursday, August 01, 2013 to complete a financial affidavit asking for a court appointed attorney.

•  Darren Marbury appeared with his attorney, Lance Rollo.

His trial is set second for Thursday, October 03, 2013 with pretrial on Friday, September 27, 2013 at 10:30 AM.

•  Brandon Lee Rose, failed to appear for arraignment.

The clerk was directed to issue a bench warrant but hold it until 9:00 AM on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 when his arraignment was continued to.

•  Bryan Hinkle had replaced Grindo as his attorney and the Clerk contacted him to appear with his client on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.

•  Brandon Lee Rose appeared on July 10, 2013 without his attorney so Judge Alsop reset his arraignment for Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 9:00 AM with the Clerk leaving messages and notifying Hinkle in writing of his need to appear.

•  Michael Anthony Puffenbarger failed to appear and likewise a bench warrant was issued but was to be held until 9:00 AM Wednesday, July 10, 2013 for further arraignment.

His attorney was Christopher Pritt and they both appeared on Wednesday, July 10, 2013, and his pretrial is now set for 9:00 AM, Friday, September 20, 2013 with his trial being set for second trial on Tuesday, October 01, 2013.

•  Barry Neil Hamner did not appear for his arraignment since his attorney Garth Beck was in another county and his arraignment was reset for Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at 9:00 AM at which time they appeared and his pretrial is now set for 10:00 AM on Friday, September 20, 2013 and his trial is set for Wednesday, October 02, 2013.

•  Teresa Ann Riggs was represented by James Clevenger and her trial is set for Thursday, September 19, 2013 and pre-trial on Monday, September 09, 2013 at 10:15 AM.

•  Larry Dale Lilly appeared with his attorney Daniel Grindo and his trial is set for Tuesday, October 29, 2013 with pre-trial on Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 1:00 PM.

•  Seth Michael Johnson also appeared with Daniel Grindo and his pre-trial is Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 10:15 AM and trial is Wednesday, October 30, 2013.

•  Lucas Wayne Buckhannon‘s arraignment was continued to Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 9:00 AM since his attorney, Jonathan Fittro was unavailable.

•  Jamie Lynn Farrar was represented by Christina Flanigan of Buckhannon.

Her pre-trial is Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 10:30 AM with her trial on Thursday, October 31, 2013.

•  Mark Alan Taylor appeared with counsel Daniel Grindo and his pre-trial is Friday, September 27, 2013 and trial Tuesday, October 0l, 2013.

His bond was set at $20,000.00 good and sufficient surety to be approved by the Circuit Clerk.

•  Stacy Lea Bright appeared with counsel Grindo and her pretrial is Friday, September 27, 2013 at 10:00 AM and trial on Thursday, October 03, 2013.

Her bond was set at $15,000.00 and she posted a PR bond until 4:00 PM on Thursday, July 11, 2013 when she must post a surety bond in the same amount.

She later appeared on Thursday, July 11, 2013 and posted bond with B&B Bonding as her surety.

•  Motions were heard in the case of State of West Virginia vs. Gary Ferrell.

His bond was set at $50,000.00.

He was represented by Daniel Grindo.

On Wednesday, July 10, 2013 Judge Alsop indoctrinated the July 2013 petit/magistrate jurors and released them to report back at a date and time listed in the letter given to them by the Circuit Clerk.

•  Two jurors failed to appear and the Clerk issued a summons to be served upon them by the Gilmer County Sheriff Larry Gerwig, for them to appear at 9:00 AM on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 to explain to the Judge why they failed to appear as previously summonsed.

•  He also arraigned Michael A. Puffenbarger and Barry Neal Hamner.

Gilmer County Family Court Report - 07.10.13

The Gilmer Free Press

On Wednesday, July 10, 2013 Family Court Judge Larry Whited held Family Court in Gilmer County.

•  He continued 2 domestic violence cases to Wednesday, July 31, 2013.

•  One domestic violence was terminated

•  One contempt proceeding was dismissed

•  One divorce was dismissed for non-appearance

•  One divorce was granted with Kimberly Frymier (51) of Tanner, WV divorcing Michael D. Frymier (43) of Glenville, WV on July 10, 2013.

Missing Weston Girl’s Mom Warned to Avoid the Felon


The mother of a missing West Virginia girl is out of jail for now.

But a judge is warning her again to stay away from the convicted felon who fathered what will be her eighth child.

Lena Lunsford was arrested twice in two weeks for violating probation in Wheeling.

U.S. Magistrate James Seibert ruled she is neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community.

But Siebert say she is clearly unwilling to comply with the court’s conditions.

He ordered a bond be posted and warned Lunsford that continued defiance could lead to imprisonment and prosecution for contempt of court.

Lunsford served eight months for welfare fraud after her 3-year-old daughter Aliayah disappeared from their Lewis County home in September 2011.

The child has never been found.

Lewis County Grand Jury Has Indicted Two with Charges of 2011 Death of Baby

The Gilmer Free Press

A Lewis County grand jury has indicted two people on charges stemming from a 14-month-old boy’s death in 2011.

Twenty-five-year-old Christopher Thomas Sheppard of Hepzibah in Harrison County is charged with death of a child by child abuse.

The child’s mother, 30-year-old Julia Mick, is charged with child neglect resulting in death.

Sheppard and Mick are scheduled to be arraigned Friday.

Media outlets report that the grand jury indicted the pair on Monday.

Investigators say Sheppard was babysitting at a Jane Lew apartment and left Mick’s son, Rex Mick, unattended in a bath.

The boy fell out of the sink, landed on his head and later died.

An autopsy revealed multiple blunt force traumas.

In June, special prosecutor Michael Parker dropped a first-degree murder charge against Sheppard.

Prosecutor Says Ohio Priest (Ex-Spencer) Abuse Charges Valid

The Gilmer Free Press

Prosecutors are urging a federal judge to reject an Ohio priest’s contention that he was charged too late with allegedly sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy he took to West Virginia more than two decades ago.

Robert Poandl (POHN’-duhl), of the Cincinnati-based Glenmary Home Missioners, has pleaded not guilty to sexually abusing the boy while the two visited a church in Spencer, WV, in 1991.

His attorney has asked U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett to throw out the case, saying a five-year statute of limitations should apply.

Prosecutors are responding in a filing made Monday that federal law changes have been clearly meant to extend the time for child sexual abuse charges.

It says Poandl’s argument his conduct isn’t covered is “unpersuasive, if not absurd.“

His trial is scheduled August 26, 2013.

Feds: Clarksburg Police Chief, Officer Out to Avoid Charges

The Gilmer Free Press

The Clarksburg police chief and a lieutenant have agreed to step down to avoid federal criminal charges related to the delayed arrest of a city councilman in a domestic assault case, a federal prosecutor said Tuesday.

U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld II announced that the chief, Marshall Goff, and Lt. Tim Smith are accused of civil rights violations and making false statements to federal authorities. Both resigned on Monday.

Clarksburg police were called to councilman Sam “Zeke” Lopez’s home on April 02, where his wife claimed Lopez pinned her down, hit her with a rolling pin and dumped food on her during an argument. Lopez was arrested July 3 and charged with one count of domestic battery.

“Goff and Smith became involved in the response and the actions that they took led to a separate investigation into their handling of the case,“ Ihlenfeld said in a news release.

Lopez was re-elected to Clarksburg City Council in June.

Goff did not immediately return a message left at his home. His attorney was in depositions and wasn’t immediately available. A telephone number for Smith wasn’t available.

Both men are barred from ever working as police officers again. They agreed to cooperate with authorities in the investigation into the handling of the Lopez case, Ihlenfeld said. The prosecutor said it was unclear if other officials would face charges.

Goff became chief in 2007 after 23 years with the department. He spent five years in the Anmoore Police Department before starting work in Clarksburg.

Media outlets reported that the city named Lt. Robert Hillard as the interim police chief on Tuesday. City Manager Martin Howe did not immediately return telephone and email messages seeking comment.

The federal case is separate from Lopez’s battery case, which is being handled by a special prosecuting attorney from Marion County.

WV Judge Resets Lunsford Probation Hearing


A judge has delayed a hearing on whether probation should be revoked for the mother of a missing West Virginia girl.

Lena Lunsford has been arrested twice in two weeks for violating the terms of her supervised release.

Lunsford served eight months in prison for welfare fraud after her 3-year-old daughter Aliayah (uh-LEE-uh) disappeared from their Lewis County home.

The child has never been found, and no one has been charged in her disappearance.

Probation officials are now recommending a judge revoke her probation. They say Lunsford has been maintaining contact with a convicted felon.

At Lunsford’s request, U.S. Magistrate James Seibert has rescheduled the hearing originally set for Monday in Wheeling to Thursday morning.

Former Weston Bank Branch Manager Pleads Gulty in Federal Court to Embezzling Nearly $250,000

The Gilmer Free Press

United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, announced that DEBORAH D. RADCLIFF, age 51, of Weston,  West Virginia,  a former branch manager of the Weston branch of Huntington National Bank entered pleas of guilty on July 03, 2013, before Magistrate Judge John S. Kaull.

RADCLIFF entered pleas of guilty to one count of “Embezzlement by a Bank Employee” and one count of “Structuring.”

During the period July 01, 2011, to November 05, 2012, while serving as the branch manager, RADCLIFF embezzled and misapplied $247,249.88 from depositors’ accounts and engaged in acts of structuring to cause the bank to fail to file a Currency Transaction Report for currency transactions of $10,000 or more.

To execute the scheme, RADCLIFF utilized her position as branch manager to issue or direct to be issued cashier’s checks from funds withdrawn from depositors’ accounts issued in the name of the depositor.

RADCLIFF would take possession of the cashier’s check, forge the name of the depositor and cash the checks for her own personal benefit.

The ages of the alleged victims ranged from 56 to 90 years, with all but one alleged victim 64 years or older.

As a branch bank manager, RADCLIFF was aware of banking   rules and regulations requiring banks   to file reports for single financial transactions of more than $10,000.

To conceal her embezzlement from the customer’s account, she would have multiple cashier’s checks issued for less than $10,000, which she would cash on different days.

On one of those instances, RADCLIFF withdrew $16,407.96 from an 84- year old customer’s account on May 02, 2012, splitting the embezzlement into two separate cashier’s checks in the amount of $8,203.98, then cashed one of the checks that day and the other five days later.

RADCLIFF,  who is free on bond   pending   sentencing,  faces up   to 40 years imprisonment, a $1,500,000 fine and an order of restitution of $247,249.88.

Huntington National Bank has restored all of the customers’ money to their accounts.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John C. Parr and investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service,  with
cooperation from the Huntington National Bank’s Corporate Security office.

Ex-Spencer Priest Says Abuse Charges Filed Too Late

The Gilmer Free Press

A Cincinnati, Ohio priest accused of taking a 10-year-old boy to West Virginia for sex more than two decades ago says the government waited too long to file charges and he wants the case dismissed.

Robert Poandl, of the Fairfield-based Glenmary Home Missioners, has pleaded not guilty to sexually abusing the boy while the two visited a church in Spencer, WV, in 1991.

Poandl is out of jail on the condition that he has no contact with children.

A jury trial is scheduled for August 26, 2013.

Poandl’s attorney said in a court filing that a five-year statute of limitations applies to the charges, which were filed 21 years after the alleged abuse.

The government has yet to file its response to Poandl’s request.

WV Juvenile Justice Group Will Broaden Focus, Study Services to Help Kids Re-Enter Society

The Gilmer Free Press

A commission studying West Virginia’s juvenile justice system says it will broaden its focus to look at all out-of-home placements for troubled kids, not just detention centers.

The Adjudicated Juvenile Rehabilitation Review Commission announced Friday it also wants to study and improve services for juveniles to help them prepare for a successful re-entry to society.

That includes ensuring they have legal representation and support services.

State Supreme Court Justice Margaret Workman chairs the commission.

She says the National Center for Youth in Custody and the American Bar Association have urged all states to develop plans to monitor juvenile programs and ensure they comply with national standards.

West Virginia appointed Cindy Largent-Hill to oversee that task, and her work will also now expand to include those discharge services for young offenders.

Jury: Ex-WV Candidate Hiram Lewis Not Guilty in Shooting

The Gilmer Free Press

A Clay County jury has found a former U.S. Senate candidate not guilty of charges stemming from a shooting incident.

Hiram Lewis was charged with malicious wounding and domestic assault following the June 2012 shooting at his home in Procious.

He testified during the trial that he shot Stephen Bogart in the leg after Bogart broke into his home.

Media outlets report that the jury found Lewis not guilty on Wednesday night.

Lewis, a Republican, made an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate in 2006.

He also made unsuccessful runs for state attorney general in 2004 and 2008.

Gilmer County Family Court Report – 06.26.13

The Gilmer Free Press

Family Court Judge Larry Whited presided over Family Court in Gilmer County on Wednesday June 26, 2013.

•  He entered a temporary order in a modification case.

•  He continued a final divorce hearing until Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 11:00 AM.

•  He heard a modification hearing (with attorneys so no order has been entered yet).

•  He heard a contempt hearing (also with an attorney).

•  He dismissed one domestic violence case after a lengthy hearing.

•  He heard another case with attorneys.

•  He granted one divorce between Lili Parker Johnson(53) of Linn, WV divorcing John W. Johnson (75) of Tampa, Florida.

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report – 06.24.13

The Gilmer Free Press

On Monday June 24, 213 Chief Judge Richard A. Facemire held his regular monthly motion day.

Three fugitives waived extradition as follows:

•  Jeremy Wolfe waived to return to Kanawha County, WV; Dominick Mackey and Nakia Barnes both waived to return to the state of Maryland.

All 3 were represented by Kevin Hughart of Sissonville and authorities have until 4:00 PM on Wednesday, July 03, 2013 to pick the individuals up at Central Regional Jail or they will be released.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Carrie Sumpter

She was before the Court for sentencing and Judge Facemire ordered her to undergo 60 days diagnosis and classification and to undergo psychiatric and substance abuse evaluations prior to being sentenced Monday, September 23, 2013 at 9:30 AM.

She was represented by David Karickhoff of Sutton.

•  Several juvenile matters were heard and reset as follows, one was dismissed, one was reset for Monday, October 28, 2013 at 9:00 AM, one for Monday, September 23, 2013 at 9:00 AM, one for Thursday, August 08, 2013 at 9:00 AM, and the final one for Monday, September 23, 2013 at 9:45 AM.

•  One name change was heard and granted.

•  A bound over case of State of West Virginia vs. Conner Smith

He was before the court on motion by the defense for competency evaluation.

Said motion was granted and Smith will self-report for evaluation upon the prosecuting attorney setting up the appointment.

Smith was represented by Bryan Hinkie of Buckhannon.

U.S. Supreme Court Voids Key Part of Voting Rights Act

The Gilmer Free Press

The Supreme Court says a key provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act cannot be enforced until Congress comes up with a new way of determining which states and localities require close federal monitoring of elections.

The justices said in 5-4 ruling Tuesday that the law Congress most recently renewed in 2006 relies on 40-year-old data that doesn’t reflect racial progress and changes in U.S. society.

The court did not strike down the advance approval requirement of the law that has been used, mainly in the South, to open up polling places to minority voters in the nearly half century since it was first enacted in 1965.

But they said lawmakers must update the formula for determining which parts of the country must seek Washington’s approval for election changes.

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