HARRISVILLE, W.Va. — Defendants appearing in Ritchie County Circuit Court through Jan. 19-20, pled guilty to charges filed against them, while having others dismissed due to agreement arrangements.
Third Circuit Judicial Judge Timothy Sweeney presided.
First on the docket was Colby A. Ruddlesden, 21, Parkersburg, who had been indicted for fleeing from an officer with reckless indifference.
Cpl. T. M. Justice, Ritchie County Sheriff’s Department, attempted to make a traffic stop on US Rt. 50, near Bonds Creek, last March, as a vehicle was radared at approximately 96 mph. When lights were activated on the cruiser, the defendant accelerated to more than 130 mph. He exited Rt. 50 at Ellenboro and was unable to maintain control, hitting the median.
Ruddlesden then continued to Harrisville, crossing into oncoming traffic and forcing cars off the road. Spike strips were avoided and he continued down State Park Road, when visual contact was lost.
Later that month, the Parkersburg Police Department reported information of a driver operating on a revoked license, which was Ruddlesden.
The defendant pled guilty to fleeing, waiving his right to a pre-sentence investigation, and it was the recommendation that his sentence run non-consecutive to charges in Wood County for possession with intent to deliver.
He was sentenced to one to five years, with credit for time served. No agreement was reached as to alternative sentencing, and he must pay the cost of proceedings and restitution.
He will have one year to satisfy the requirement after his release.
Ruddlesden was represented by Attorney Danny Glover.
Denise A. Miracle, 22, Croswell, Mich., pled guilty to possession with intent to deliver (marijuana).
She had been pulled over on Rt. 50, clocked on radar going 77 in a 65-mph zone. Cpl. T. M. Justice could smell marijuana and a narcotics K-9 was requested and a search was conducted. Found were two plastic bags with approximately 120 grams of marijuana.
The pre-sentence investigation was waived.
Attorney Jordan West asked for probation and that she be transferred back to Michigan.
“It was a huge mistake and she is young," West said.
The defendant had tested negative to drugs during the recess.
Sweeney sentenced Miracle to one to five years, with credit for time served. He then suspended that for three years of supervised probation, under terms and conditions.
That supervision will be transferred to Michigan, but proceedings could be returned to Ritchie County if the terms are broken.
“She learned a lesson and is clean today," Sweeney said. "The takeaway from this is to continue on the right path."
Christopher S. Rider, 32, Pennsboro, pled guilty to not providing registration change of address.
The State would then not seek recidivism and stand silent.
Arrests warrants had been issued in Monroe County and local authorities were advised the defendant was living in Ritchie County. He was a life-time registrant from a 2017 conviction.
The court accepted the agreement and said sentencing would occur after the presentence investigation; however, Attorney Gregory asked for sentencing that day, and for it to run concurrent with other charges in Monroe County.
Sweeney wanted time to review the file, as he was not sure of all of Rider’s trouble and needed to make a determination before the ruling.
Sentencing, which could result in one to five years in the penitentiary, is scheduled for April 12 at 1 p.m.
Christopher Mason, 24, Easton, Pa., pled guilty to obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, and the second charge was dismissed with prejudice.
He had attempted to pick up prescriptions for prednisone and codeine at the local Walgreen’s, after calling ahead to have the order filled. When the pharmacy contacted the doctor’s office, it was found to be fraudulent.
Probation was recommended, along with paying restitution, and it was requested that he be transferred to New York.
A presentence investigation was ordered, and sentencing is set for April 12 at 9:15 a.m.
The charge could result in one to four years in the penitentiary.
Lindsey Ables, 32, Weston, W.Va., charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, pled guilty and had a remaining count of conspiracy to commit a felony dismissed.
The charges came after a traffic stop in Pennsboro.
Represented by Attorney Dreama Sinkkanen, Ables reported that she has been clean for one year.
Sentencing is set for April 12 at 9:45 a.m.
A sentence of one to five years could be imposed, plus the defendant must pay restitution.
Bail was enlarged.
Robert Whiting, 25, Auburn, pled guilty to failure to provide notice of registration changes and fleeing from an officer, and another count of fleeing was dismissed.
Whiting had been living at a residence in Auburn for approximately two years and failed to register, after leaving Maryland.
The presentence investigation was waived, as Sinkkanen, his attorney, asked that the court proceed with sentencing. She asked the sentences to run concurrently and her client be extradited back to Maryland.
Sweeney said, “The first sentence must be served before being released to Maryland. He has bigger fish to fry there. He will serve the sentence to get on with it.”
Prosecuting Attorney Sam Rogers said law enforcement had to look for Whiting on multiple occasions, posing dangers and risks to them.
“I don’t believe he has a right to concurrent sentencings, but should be consecutively,” Rogers said.
The defendant was sentenced consecutively to one to five years in jail on each count, with credit for 204 days served.
He will be required to pay restitution, plus the proceedings cost.
Rilee Elliott, 20, Cairo, pled guilty to unlawful assault.
She was indicted by the court for a stabbing that occurred in Harrisville last year.
Elliott agreed to serve imprisonment, which could be one to five years, and pay full restitution. She did report that she had been clean of meth for one year.
Sweeney declined to accept the plea and ordered a presentence investigation be conducted prior to imposing sentencing, as to consider findings.
The victim will be notified and have the right to address the court.
Sentencing is set for April 12 at 10:15 a.m.
Representing Elliott was West.
Zachary Fagin, 31, Milford, Ohio, pled guilty to grand larceny and saw the remaining charge of transferring stolen property dismissed.
The defendant stole a vehicle from the Simonton plant in Ellenboro. He had taken a car from Ohio to West Virginia, ran out of gas and found another vehicle to steal.
Sweeney accepted the plea and ordered a presentence investigation be conducted.
Attorney Judi McCullough stated her client had been incarcerated for 14 months, and asked the PSI be waived.
“He has already served the minimum," McCullough said.
Sweeney had started to schedule in April; however, McCullough requested an earlier date. It was changed to Feb. 10 at 10 a.m.
The victim in the case will be notified.
The sentence could be one to 10 years in jail, and Fagin is required to pay full restitution.
Jackie Tichnell, 41, Elizabeth, saw bond modified to home confinement after his court hearing on Friday.
The defendant pled guilty to fraudulent schemes, and two counts of obtaining property by false pretense after incidents last year.
The other two charges, obtaining goods in return for worthless check, were dropped with prejudice.
According to complaints, at least five dealers in Ritchie, Roane, Wirt and Wood counties had been victims of the scam. Worthless checks were issued locally to Dodd’s Sporting Goods in Ellenboro.
McCullough, his attorney, said a mental evaluation was conducted last June and her client was found competent.
“His father is here today and I ask that bond be modified to home confinement. He has been incarcerated almost a year,” said McCullough.
Jackie Tichnell Sr., who appeared in court, stated that he was willing to have his son home.
It was stated that the defendant needed to be at the residence in the winter months to assist his father.
Home confinement was approved and will be covered in Wirt County.
A post-conviction bond was granted and modified to a personal recognizance bond. He was released directly to home confinement after paperwork was filed.
Sentencing will be April 12 at 10:45 a.m., and Tichnell is required to pay full restitution of $17,288.60.
“If you fail to appear, that will be a new felony offense,” said Sweeney.
Philip Mayle, 52, Clarksburg, pled guilty to driving while license revoked for DUI, third offense, and possession of a controlled substance, and a second count of possession was dismissed with prejudice. He must also pay restitution.
The defendant was charged after being stopped by law enforcement for speeding on Rt. 50. His license was previously suspended for DUI, and meth and marijuana were found in his vehicle.
The charge of driving while revoked could net one to three years in jail, plus a $3,000 to $5,000 fine. Possession is 60 to 90 days in jail.
A presentence investigation will be done, and bail was enlarged. His attorney is McCullough.
Sentencing will occur April 12 at 11:15 a.m.
Richard F. Wilson, 40, Ellenboro, appeared on a petition to revoke probation.
The defendant had been revoked on Jan. 10, as he had failed a drug screen. He had originally been charged with leaving the scene of an accident and previously wanton endangerment involving a firearm, child neglect causing risk of injury and domestic battery.
West commented that he had discussed setting a preliminary hearing for his client; however, he wished to waive that and schedule an adjudicatory hearing at a later date.
Due to a violation in magistrate court, this was granted and the hearing will be March 1 at 11 a.m.
Steven C. Powell, 39, Marietta, Ohio, also was in court for a probation revocation.
He had been indicted in 2019 for soliciting a minor via computer and use of obscene matter with intent to seduce a minor. He had reportedly placed ads on Craiglist.
Attorney Rolf Baumgartel had spoke with the State and waived the defendant’s hearing.
Powell will be back in court on Feb. 10 at 11:30 a.m.
Ryan Amos, 42, Pullman, appeared after being indicted on charges of unauthorized use of vehicle, second offense, and driving while license suspended, third offense.
Attorney George Consenza said there was a glitch in a potential plea agreement, as he was trying to secure a document from the defendant’s employer.
“We can’t go forward,” said Consenza.
A scheduling conference was put on the calendar for Jan. 24 at 1 p.m.
Bail was enlarged.
Jason Strickler, 44, Newport, Ohio, charged with fleeing from an officer in a vehicle with reckless indifference and diving while license revoked for DUI, third offense, did not enter a plea.
Dyer said his client was not inclined to accept an offer and wanted readmission to bond.
According to Dyer, a cellmate of Strickler’s had overdosed and the defendant said staying at North Central Regional Jail was dangerous.
“I request that he get away from that, with possible electronic monitoring and drug screens,” Dyer said.
The prosecution objected to reinstatement of bond, citing Strickler had failed to appear, a capias was ordered and he had been "MIA" for months. He was found in Ohio committing more crimes and had a criminal history.
“It’s more than enough to go against reinstatement," Rogers said.
“The defendant has tested positive for meth," Sweeney said. "He uses substances on his own and needs to keep away from drugs.”
Readmission was denied.
A scheduling hearing will be Jan. 24 at 1 p.m.
Lee Woodlee, 49, West Hamlin, W.Va., appeared on charges of fleeing from an officer with reckless indifference.
He was chased by law enforcement entering Ritchie County, turned onto Dogwood Lane and was unable to proceed too far due to surrounding woods.
His attorney, McCullough, asked that the matter be rescheduled as issues need resolved, stating her client had another case in Wood County.
The date was set for Feb. 3 at 11 a.m.
Kenneth Ahouse, 45, Pennsboro, was not prepared to enter a plea. He was indicted on charges of escape and failure to provide notice of registration changes (two counts).
“He is not ready,” said McCullough.
The defendant was ordered to be back in court on Jan. 24, 1 p.m., for a scheduling conference.
Tara Shearer, a fugitive housed at North Central Regional Jail, is wanted in Washington County, Ohio, and facing charges of larceny under $1,000 there.
Judge Sweeney said, “If she is not retrieved by Monday at 4 p.m., the court will further proceed.”
Shearer was represented by West.