The cases of three local residents accused of possessing ingredients used to make methamphetamine were bound over to Randolph County Circuit Court Monday.
Brandon Michael Beeson, 26, of Elkins; Robert Franklin Davis II, 34, of Buckhannon; and Jamie Nicole Chidester, 24, of Buckhannon, were charged with possession of substances to be used as precursor to manufacture methamphetamine, a felony, after being arrested March 11 near Custom Paving on Ward Road in Elkins.
Beeson, Davis and Chidester waived their rights to preliminary hearings in Randolph County Magistrate Court Monday, meaning the charges will be dealt with in Circuit Court.
Magistrate Rob Elbon, did, however, modify bond for each defendant, scaling it back from $125,000 cash, surety or property to $75,000 cash, surety or property. As of presstime, Chidester and Beeson were still being held in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail, while Davis was free on bond.
The charges stem from an incident that took place on March 11, when Cpl. A.G. Vanscoy and Sgt. B.T. Pawelczyk with the Randolph County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to the parking lot of Custom Paving on Ward Road in response to a suspicious vehicle complaint.
Upon arrival, officers saw a red truck, inside of which they allegedly found Davis, the driver, and Beeson, the passenger.
The complaint notes that while officers were talking to Beeson, he "continuously" attempted to reach into the passenger-side door compartment "in a nervous manner appearing ... as (if) attempting to hide or conceal items." Vanscoy then opened the passenger-side door and saw "in plain view" coffee filters, lithium batteries, airline tubing funnels, cold packs, allergy medications containing pseudoephedrine and a container of lighter fluid located directly beneath Beeson's legs.
Beeson, Davis and a second passenger, Chidester, were removed from the truck so officers could search the vehicle. In addition to what they'd already found, officers allegedly unearthed drain cleaner, more lithium batteries, salt, octane booster and additional medications containing pseudoephedrine.
Beeson, Davis and Chidester were then taken into custody.
During Monday's hearing, Elbon denied a motion made by Chidester's attorney, Timothy Prentice, to lower her bond to $50,000 cash, surety or property.
"She has no criminal history whatsoever, and it's our position that she had no connection with the items in the vehicle," Prentice argued. Prentice said it was imperative that Chidester be able to make bond so she could attend other unrelated court proceedings in Upshur County.
"She runs the risk of forever losing her children if she's not released," Prentice said.
Assistant Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Lori Gray opposed modifying Chidester's bond to any amount below $75,000 - the amount set for her codefendants.
"At this point, the state has no reason to believe that her culpability is any less than the other two defendants," Gray told Elbon.
Elbon ordered that Chidester's bond be set at $75,000 cash, property or surety.
The penalty for a conviction of possession of substances to be used as precursor to manufacture methamphetamine is confinement in the state penitentiary for two to 10 years, a fine of up to $25,000 or both.
Contact Katie Kuba by email at email@example.com.