Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong accepted plea agreements from three people involved in a plot to smuggle tobacco, illegal drugs and other controlled substances into Huttonsville Correctional Center Wednesday in Randolph County Circuit Court.
In June, Karena Davis, 32, of Nitro was indicted for six felony counts of attempt of transportation of controlled substances onto the grounds of a correctional facility, six felony counts of attempt of delivery of contraband to an inmate, two felony counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and eight felony counts of conspiracy.
Davis and two other individuals were involved in a plan to deliver tobacco and other controlled substances to two inmates doing time in the Huttonsville Correctional Center in April 2011, according to Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker.
In accordance with the plea agreement, Davis pleaded guilty to two felony counts of attempt of transportation of controlled substances onto the grounds of a correctional facility, one felony count of delivery of contraband to an inmate and one felony count of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance. In exchange, Parker agreed to drop the remaining 18 felony charges.
Wilfong asked Davis if she had any prior criminal history.
"No," Davis replied.
"Well, you picked a heck of a place to start," Wilfong said. Davis testified that she had sent suboxone strips through the mail to two inmates with whom she had been romantically involved -- Michael Joe Bragg and Brian Allen Simpkins. Suboxone is a drug commonly used to treat opiate addiction, according to information on the National Institute on Drug Abuse's website. Davis said she and co-defendants Sarah Lynette Cantrell and Henry Martin Woody Jr., her brother, drove to Randolph County to drop off tobacco, lighters, suboxone, synthetic marijuana, marijuana and morphine on a farm adjacent to the Huttonsville Correctional Center for Bragg and Simpkins.
"Why did you do this?" Wilfong asked.
"We were going to get paid," Davis said, "but it never happened." Davis said Simpkins and Bragg "called and wrote letters" for some months before she decided to comply with their requests.
Wilfong schedules a sentencing hearing for 9 a.m. Oct. 24.
Cantrell, 33, of Lesage, a co-defendant of Davis's, was indicted in June on four felony counts of attempt of transportation of controlled substances onto the grounds of a correctional facility, four felony counts of attempt of delivery of contraband to an inmate, two felony counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and four felony counts of conspiracy. Wilfong also accepted a plea agreement from Cantrell under which she agreed to plead guilty to three counts of attempt of transportation of controlled substances onto the grounds of a correctional facility; in exchange, Parker said he would drop all other charges.
"What was your role in this?" Wilfong asked. Cantrell said she was the driver, while Davis had been "told to put [the drugs] in a ditch close to the prison."
"She put it in a truck on the farm [adjacent to the Huttonsville Correctional Center," Cantrell testified.
A sentencing hearing is set for 9 a.m. Oct. 24.
Simpkins, 29, of Denmar - one of the inmates involved in the plan - was indicted in June on six felony counts of conspiracy. Simpkins testified that he had written multiple letters to his fiance - whose identity he did not disclose - asking her to send him "tobacco and fake [synthetic] marijuana."
Wilfong accepted a plea agreement in which he pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy in exchange for the state dismissing the remaining three charges.
A sentencing hearing is slated for 9 a.m. Oct. 24.
Wilfong granted a continuance in the case of Bragg, 27, who was indicted in June on six felony counts of conspiracy. Bragg is the second Huttonsville Correctional Center inmate to whom Davis, Cantrell and Woody attempted to deliver tobacco, lighters, marijuana and other controlled substances. Bragg's attorney James Hawkins declined to accept a plea agreement proffered by Parker, saying he hadn't had time to "intelligently review" all evidence and advise his client.
"We're not intelligently informed to proceed today," Hawkins said, "so we're asking for a continuance until the next term of court." Wilfong rescheduled the pre-trial conference for Jan. 2.
Henry Martin Woody Jr., 25, of Nitro pleaded not guilty to six felony counts of attempt of transportation of controlled substances onto the grounds of a correctional facility, six felony counts of attempt of delivery of contraband to an inmate, two felony counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and eight felony counts of conspiracy.
Woody is Davis's brother and the fifth person involved in the plot to deliver drugs to Bragg and Simpkins.
Wilfong issued a capias for Woody's arrest in July when he did not appear for arraignment. Woody told Wilfong he had been unable to secure a ride from Nitro to Elkins for the July 11 arraignments. Wilfong set bond at $50,000 cash, property and surety and outlined a series of terms and conditions, including one specifying that he have no contact with any of his four co-defendants.
"You mean I can't talk to my sister?" Woody asked, referring to Karena Davis. Wilfong modified that condition at Woody's request, granting him permission to have contact with Davis.
A pre-trial conference is set for a later date.
Justin Pete Short, 29, of Elkins appeared with his attorney, Dwight Hall, to request that Wilfong reduce the charge from failure to register as a lifetime registrant to failure to register as a 10-year registrant. Wilfong denied the motion.
"That's something that could be handled in an appeal," she said.
Short pleaded not guilty in July to four felony counts of failure to register as a sexual offender or provide notice of registration changes. Hall also sought a bifurcation of charges, meaning Short would have two trials and two different jury pools deliberating over his fate -- a motion Wilfong granted.
She also modified the terms of Short's bond from $50,000 cash to $50,000 cash, property or surety.
"He's never been anything but a pain to everyone," Hall argued. "He's not vicious. He's not a pervert.. he's not dangerous to anybody. He's a lifelong resident of Randolph County--"
"You don't want to talk anymore," Wilfong interjected. According to a previous report, Wilfong submitted a letter she believes to have been sent by Short from the regional jail to authorities for fingerprinting. The letter wasn't signed, but its writer threatened Wilfong, her family and Parker.
Wilfong granted a motion to secure an out-of-state witness and a motion for continuance in the case of Richard Clive Devine, 61, of Elkins at the request of Parker, who said the state needed more time to transport the child victim from Illinois, where she resides.
In July, Devine was indicted on one felony count of sexual assault in the first degree, five felony counts of employment or use of a minor to produce obscene matter or assist in doing sexually explicit conduct, five felony counts of use of minors in filming sexually explicit conduct and five felony counts of possession of material depicting a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
Parker said more time was also needed so an expert could conduct a mental status evaluation on Devine.
"The defense filed a motion of intent to offer an insanity defense," Parker said after the hearing, "so we are requesting our own mental status evaluation."
A pre-trial conference is slated for Jan. 2 and the trial, which is expected to last three days, is set for Jan. 16-18, 2013.
Paul D. McCamey of Columbus, Ohio appeared with his attorney, Hawkins, to contest an error made in a 2010 indictment, which was drawn up under the direction of former Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Richard Busch, who resigned in December 2011. McCamey was indicted for one count of second offense possession with intent to deliver; however, he was indicted under the incorrect subsection of state code, Parker said. "He was charged with possession with intent to deliver a non-narcotic, but the alleged substance was cocaine, a narcotic," Parker said following the hearing.
Wilfong dismissed the charges without prejudice, meaning the state may reindict McCamey under the correct subsection of state code.
Wilfong granted a continuance in the case of David Paul Dailey, 36, an inmate at Huttonsville Correctional Center, after Hawkins, Dailey's attorney, told Wilfong he believed a psychiatric evaluation needed to be completed before the court could proceed with the case.
"I would like to secure an expert on our behalf to conduct a psychiatric evaluation. I'm asking to be authorized to secure Dr. Bobby Miler of our Morgantown," Hawkins said. Hawkins also asked that Wilfong order information in the personnel files of department of corrections employees be released.
"The three of us will review record and any exculpatory evidence will be disclosed," Wilfong said.
In June, Dailey pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of offense committed by an inmate, four felony counts of retaliation against a public official or employee and four misdemeanor counts of battery on a governmental representative.
Wilfong granted a continuance in the case of Justin Paul Robinson, 27, of Elkins, who pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of burglary and one felony count of malicious wounding in July. Parker and Robinson's attorney, James Hawkins Jr., filed a joint request that the matter be continued due to the utilization of expert witnesses. A pre-trial hearing is set for 9 a.m. Nov. 19.
Wilfong also granted continuances in the cases of co-dedefendants Robert Lee Scott, 31, and Valerie Jacque McIntyre, 23, both of Elkins. In July, Scott pleaded not guilty to four felony counts of delivery of a controlled substance and three felony counts of conspiracy, while McIntyre pleaded not guilty to three felony counts of delivery of a controlled substance and three felony counts of conspiracy.
Chris Cooper, McIntyre's attorney, said he and Scott's attorney, Hawkins, needed more time to prepare for a pre-trial hearing. "We have not been through a lot of the process yet, and we are not prepared for trial at its current date." A pre-trial conference is scheduled for 9 a.m. Nov. 19.
Megan Stottlemeyer of Beverly appeared with her attorney, Phil Isner, to petition the court for a reconsideration of her sentence. According to previous reports, Stottlemeyer is sentenced to one to 10 years in prison for parole violations; she was originally charged with one count of retaliation against a public official and one count of transporting a controlled substance on the grounds of a correctional facility.
Wilfong said she would order that Stottemeyer be release as soon as the forthcoming adult drug court is operational.
"I want her to go right into that," Wilfong said. "I don't want there to be a gap. I don't want there to be a chance for relapse. I want to work with you, Megan. I think you have such tremendous potential and I'm really hopeful the prorgam will work for you."
Wilfong did not grant a motion for reconsideration filed by Isner on behalf of inmate Mary Beth Herron, who was charged with aiding and abetting in kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping, both felonies, in 2011.
Isner said Herron had been incarcerated since November 2011, but "has never had a chance at community corrections."
"Nine months gives a person a chance to think, and I can't think of a better candidate for drug court than Mary Beth," Isner said.
Wilfong said she would hold the motion in obeyance and take it up again during a hearing at 9 a.m. Oct. 26.
Wilfong also presided over a bond violation hearing in the case of David Friedline, a community corrections participant who admitted to testing positive for opiates and then lying about his drug use to a community corrections officer. Wilfoung found Friedline guilty of a violation, but instructed Hall, Friedline's attorney, to file a Rule 135 motion for reconsideration. A hearing is set for 9 a.m. Oct. 24.
"By that time we'll be up and running with adult drug court," she said.
All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Katie Kuba can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.