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Simmons pleads guilty to assault

August 19, 2010
By BEN SIMMONS Staff Writer

An Elkins man says he doesn't remember holding a knife against a woman's throat and threatening to kill her, but admitted to the court that he was intoxicated at the time of the incident after drinking two fifths of Black Velvet. Douglas A. Simmons, 26, of 609 Wilson St., pleaded guilty to the crime Wednesday before Randolph County Circuit Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong.

The incident occurred in March at a home on Diamond Street. Elkins police said Simmons moved toward the doorway of the home armed with the knife when they tried to arrest him for threatening the woman and he had to be subdued with pepper spray. He was indicted earlier this year by a Randolph County grand jury.

Simmons appeared in court Wednesday with his attorney Philip Isner and pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful assault, a felony, and one count of assault on an officer, a misdemeanor. Simmons faces a sentence of one to five years in prison for the felony and up to six months in jail for the misdemeanor. Wilfong ordered a presentence investigation and set sentencing for Sept. 29. He remains free on a $100,000 bond.

Also in court on Wednesday, Jeremy Ward, 31, of Route 4 Box 276-1, Elkins, appeared with attorney William "Ty" Nestor and pleaded guilty to one count each of forgery and uttering, both felonies.

Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Richard T. Busch told the court Ward committed the crime while sentenced to the community corrections program. He said the state is recommending Ward's sentences run consecutively.

"He certainly did not learn from his previous sentence to the community corrections program," Busch said.

Ward was indicted by a grand jury in March on seven counts of uttering and two counts of forgery, all felonies. According to the indictment, Ward is accused of forging the names of Gregory and Rachel Mach on checks and using them on seven occasions.

Ward faces a sentence of one to 10 years in prison on each charge. Wilfong ordered a presentence investigation and set sentencing for Sept. 29 at 9 a.m. Ward remains incarcerated at the Tygart Valley Regional Jail on other charges.

Heather R. Litten, 33, address unknown, appeared with attorney Andrea Roberts and pleaded guilty to an information charging her with one count of uttering, a felony.

During the hearing, Litten told the court she cashed two checks totaling $7,000 on the account of Arden Welch that were made out to her. She said she was living with Welch at the time and did not know Welch's name was forged on the checks.

"I cashed some checks that were not signed by Arden Welch because his kids stole all of my belongings," Litten said.

Litten faces a sentence of one to 10 years in prison. Wilfong ordered a presentence investigation and set sentencing for Sept. 29. She remains free on bond.

Caroline Shannon, 59, of Dotson Run Road, Beverly, was released from custody after serving approximately 60 days in the TVRJ after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy. Prentice represented Shannon in the case.

The state did not object to the court's reconsideration. Busch said Shannon's crime was, "not stopping her son's crime spree."

Shannon was accused of providing material support to the commission of a larceny committed by her son, Michael Shannon, and receiving various items having a total value more than $1,000.

"It was my intention to impress the seriousness of the offense," Wilfong said during the hearing.



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