HARRISVILLE, W.Va. — Pleas were entered in Ritchie County Circuit Court on Feb. 22 as 12 cases were heard before Third Judicial Circuit Judge Tim Sweeney.
Berlin A. Nuzum, 45, Glenville, pled guilty to possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver (meth), no certificate of insurance and driving while license suspended; and saw charges of conspiracy to commit a felony, failure to produce certification of inspection, and improper use of evidence of registration dismissed.
He will also pay restitution and the State will not seek recidivist.
Nuzum was charged in January 2022 after a traffic stop in Pennsboro, where currency, drugs, digital scales and other paraphernalia were found by Ritchie County Sheriff’s Department deputies.
A pre-sentence investigation was ordered, and the defendant was remanded back to North Central Regional Jail until his sentencing on May 19 at 9 a.m.
Kevin A. Sheffer, 26, Seminole, FL, was indicted on the charge of fleeing from an officer in a vehicle with reckless indifference and pled guilty.
He intentionally fled from an officer of the Ritchie County Sheriff’s Department in July 2019, after being given visual and audible signals.
The defendant led law enforcement on a high speed chase, riding a motorcycle, at times reaching 113 miles per hour on U.S. Rt. 50. He eventually wrecked on Rolling River Road.
Sheffer was released on bond, but was later revoked after not appearing in court.
He will be required to pay restitution.
A pre-sentence investigation was requested, and sentencing is set for May 19 at 9:30 a.m.
He was remanded back to North Central Regional Jail.
Kenneth D. Ahouse, 45, Pennsboro, had been indicted on charges of escape and failure to provide notice of registration change, second offense.
Prosecuting Attorney Sam Rogers said the agreement included pleading guilty to escape and the other charges being dismissed, which was approved by the investigating officer. Recidivist will not be sought.
Ahouse was indicted after fleeing in November 2021 from the court bailiff’s custody.
Speaking for her client, Attorney Judi McCullough reported he had been incarcerated for 15 months, and she asked the pre-sentence investigation be waived, proceeding to sentencing. “He seems a different person and has made great strides to rehabilitate. His problems have been addressed.”
Ahouse said, “I apologize for my actions. I held a job, and I want to go home. My life has changed.”
Rogers commented that the defendant was previously arrested on sexual assault, and failed to register, then he escaped. His sentences should run consecutively with the current sentence.
Judge Sweeney said, “There has to be some penalty for escape. The court sentences you to five years. You are eligible for parole after 15 months, which is right now, for fleeing. I hope your representation has been sincere.”
He continued, “If you are discharged from the initial offense, and if you make parole, then you will serve probation for seven years, with terms and conditions. If not, you’ll go back to jail for five years.”
Probation will begin upon parole and supervision will start then.
Ahouse was returned to the St. Marys Correctional Center.
Jessica L. Walton, 32, Berea, agreed to pled guilty to conspiracy to commit delivery of a controlled substance (marijuana), two counts, and child neglect creating risk of injury, and saw charges of conspiracy to commit delivery of a controlled substance, delivery of a controlled substance (two counts), and delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school dismissed with prejudice.
Judge Sweeney asked Prosecutor Rogers to recite the supplement factual beliefs in court, where she and David M. Messinger acted together in the crimes.
Since she has been convicted of child neglect, Walton must also register with the West Virginia State Police as a child abuse offender.
Restitution, if any, will be paid.
A pre-sentence investigation was issued and bail enlarged.
Walton will appear May 19, 10 a.m., for sentencing.
Brandon L. Spencer, 42, Pennsboro, pled guilty to three counts of delivery of a controlled substance (meth), conspiracy to commit a felony, obstructing an officer, and driving while license suspended.
Dismissed were conspiracy to commit a felony violation (two counts), improper use of evidence of registration, operation without certificate of inspection and failure to maintain security.
The defendant stated that on three separate dates, he delivered to a confidential informant, and provided false information on his driver’s license.
Prosecutor Rogers did not recommend alternative sentencing, if Spencer does not complete the Goals program.
Sentencing will be May 19 at 11 a.m.
Marissa R. Shingleton, 27, Pennsboro, entered an agreement to plead guilty to burglary and grand larceny, with two other charges of the same being dismissed with prejudice.
The defendant entered the dwelling on Galaxy Drive, Harrisville, and drove away in a Chevrolet truck owned by the residents.
Attorney Lindsey Bailey asked that Shingleton’s bond be reduced to $1,000; and Prosecutor Rogers said she would need re-instated. “I will be interested to see how she does prior to sentencing.”
Judge Sweeney granted the bond modification and re-instatement, with terms and conditions. “Bond will be supervised by the probation officer, along with random drug screens.”
Shingleton must also pay restitution.
A pre-sentence investigation will be conducted and sentencing is May 19 at 10:30 a.m.
Buddy Wolfe, 30, Smithville, pled guilty to breaking and entering, a felony.
There is no agreement to sentencing and he must pay restitution.
The remaining count of petit larceny was dismissed with prejudice.
Wolfe entered a building in Burnt House and took several items, valued at less than $1,000.
Attorney David Glover requested bond be re-instated so his client could attend rehabilitation. “He has meth issues in his background. He made bond until he tested positive. He needs help.”
Prosecutor Rogers had no objection, if Wolfe went directly to rehab.
The defendant has to complete rehab.
“If we don’t treat this, you’ll be back out there. Bond will be re-instated, if an approved facility bed is ready, and released into an in-patient program,” said Judge Sweeney. “If you go to the program, do it. Bail will be revoked, if you don’t comply.”
A pre-sentence investigation is planned, with sentencing on May 19 at 11:30 a.m.
Lora K. Barr, 30, Pennsboro, appeared on charges of delivery of a controlled substance (three counts, meth), conspiracy to commit a felony violation (three counts), and obstructing an officer.
Attorney Glover reported a tentative plea had been reached, but facts are needed for confirmation. He asked that the case be continued until the next term of court in June, unless the issue is resolved.
At this time a scheduling conference is set for June 6 at 1 p.m.
Barr was remanded back to North Central Regional Jail.
Stephen A. Cole, 26, Belpre, OH, pled guilty to failure to provide support to a minor, and will pay full restitution.
From October 2018 to May 2022, arrears was $15,618.69.
It was agreed to recommend probation, since he was currently incarcerated in North Central Regional Jail, due to a failed drug screen.
Attorney Lindsey Bailey made a motion to re-instate bond, since the defendant had been housed in jail since Jan. 24. “He needs to get back to work.”
Cole will have the same terms and conditions, must be employed full time and make child support payments.
Bail will be enlarged after release.
Laura J. Shaffer, 48, Cairo, pled guilty to child neglect creating risk of injury and delivery of a controlled substance to a minor, committed in December 2021.
A second charge of child neglect creating risk of injury was dismissed with prejudice. Full restitution must be paid, if any.
The defendant admitted to giving her under-aged daughter meth to deliver.
The State would not oppose Shaffer to be readmitted to bond, but she must enter a rehabilitation program and paperwork will be submitted at a facility for that purpose.
Also, she must register with the West Virginia State Police as a child abuse neglect offender.
Sentencing is May 19 at 1:30 p.m. A pre-sentence investigation will be conducted.
Cayla A. Ross, 35, Harrisville, pled guilty to intimidation of a public official and assault on a law enforcement officer, and saw charges of use of a firearm during the commission of a felony and wanton endangerment involving a firearm dismissed with prejudice.
Restitution, if any, must be paid.
Prosecutor Rogers recommended home confinement at sentencing, if the defendant remains out of trouble. It has been approved by the victim, after much contemplation.
“She had a lengthy jail term, negative drug screens and her conduct since the crime has changed. She has also gained employment.”
A drug screen that day proved negative.
Bail was enlarged and sentencing will be May 19 at 2 p.m.
A presentence interview will be held.
Michael J. Rinehart, 44, Petroleum, appeared after being indicted for grand larceny.
The defendant was charged with stealing a Husqvarna chain saw, valued at more than $1,000.
Attorney Bailey said her client wished to plead not guilty, but the matter may be resolved soon.
She asked to have the plea hearing moved to March 17, 2:15 p.m.
“If a plea isn’t worked out, it will be moved to June term,” said Judge Sweeney.
A drug screen returned negative prior to court.