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Upshur man in court on drug charge

October 22, 2013
By Katie Kuba - Upshur Bureau Chief , The Inter-Mountain

A Buckhannon man who was arrested last week on drug trafficking charges will remain in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail - at least until Thursday.

A bond reduction hearing in the case of 35-year-old Ryan Keith Gillum was continued Monday in Upshur County Circuit Court after Judge Kurt Hall ruled that Upshur County Prosecuting Attorney Jake Reger needed more time to prepare for the hearing.

Gillum, who is being held on a $75,000 cash-only bond and a $75,000 surety bond, was arrested Thursday and charged with three counts of delivery of a controlled substance, marijuana. Deputies with the Upshur County Sheriff's Department allegedly seized 8 pounds of marijuana, $4,000, six firearms, three cellphones and miscellaneous drug paraphernalia from Gillum over a period of several months.

Gillum's attorney, James Hawkins, filed a motion for bond reduction/modification late Friday, when Reger was out of the office.

At Monday's hearing, Reger told Hall he was not prepared to proceed because of the last-minute filing.

Hawkins, however, urged the court to hear the matter "as quickly and practically as possible," calling Gillum's bond "effectively a denial of bail."

"Magistrates have started setting cash-only bails in cases that don't cry out for it," Hawkins said. "This is tantamount to no bail."

Hall agreed that the bond "amounts to a denial of bail," but said that Reger should be granted an opportunity to file a written response.

"Even with this being a potential constitutional violation (of Gillum's rights), we need to give Mr. Reger an opportunity to respond," the judge said. "I'm very cognizant of the fact that probably no one here could make a $75,000 cash-only bond, but until I have more information I'm not prepared to do it (modify bond) today."

The hearing is now slated for 3 p.m. Thursday. Upshur County Magistrate Mike Coffman recused himself from the case because his father, Upshur County Sheriff David Coffman, is involved in the investigation.

Also in Circuit Court Monday:

- Edward Matthew Williams, 27, of Buckhannon, was sentenced to one to five years in the state penitentiary on one felony count of child neglect creating risk of serious bodily injury and credit for time served on the lesser included offense of joyriding, a misdemeanor; these sentences will run consecutively.

Hall also ordered Williams to pay $2,729 in restitution to the victims in the case.

In January, Williams is alleged to have broken into two homes on Booney Hull Road, ransacked one of the homes and removed firearms. He is also alleged to have threatened an occupant at one of the homes before taking the man's truck and placing his two children in the truck. A standoff with law enforcement ensued on a road just off state Route 20, and several hours passed before state troopers were able to persuade Williams to release the two children.

Hall said Williams was "a danger to the community."

"The first thing you said when you came off whatever you were on is, 'did I kill anyone?' and I think that's pretty profound," Hall told Williams. "Mr. Williams, I know that's not at all what you wanted to hear, but at this point in time, I can tell you that your children are afraid of you."

- Robert H. Sprouse Jr., 59, no address listed in the original indictment, was sentenced to one to three years of home confinement on one felony count of driving while license revoked for DUI, third or subsequent offense. Hall also imposed a $3,000 fine and ordered that Sprouse serve 30 days in jail.

"The penitentiary is what the court should do you deserve it. But for me to put you in there would be cruel," Hall said, citing Sprouse's significant medical issues.

- Gregory Lake Norris, 61, no address listed in the original indictment, was sentenced to one to five years of home confinement on one felony count of delivery of a controlled substance, hydrocodone; Norris will also be required to pay $140 in restitution.

- Joseph Arthur Wood, 39, of Buckhannon, was sentenced to six months in jail on one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence, second offense, and six months in jail on one misdemeanor count of driving while license revoked for DUI; these sentences are to run concurrently. However, Hall suspended the imposition of jail sentence, instead placing Wood on two years of probation. He also fined Wood $100 on the driving revoked for DUI charge and ordered that he serve five days in jail within the next 60 days.

- Joyce A. Arbogast, no age or address listed in the original indictment, was sentenced to one to five years in the state penitentiary on one felony count of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance; however, the judge suspended the imposition of that sentence and placed Arbogast on five years of probation. Hall ordered her to serve 20 days in jail and participate in the Lewis-Upshur-Braxton Community Corrections program as a condition of her probation.

- Richard Brian Smith Jr., no age or address listed in the original indictment, was sentenced to one to five years in the state penitentiary on one felony count of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance, but Hall suspended the imposition of the prison sentence and placed Smith on five years of probation. He will be required to serve 20 days in jail and participate in the Lewis-Upshur-Braxton Community Corrections program as a term of his probation.

- Martin Leroy Bennett-Bertelli, 27, of Tennessee, formerly of Buckhannon, was sentenced to one to five years in the state penitentiary on one felony count of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance, oxycodone, and one to five years in the state penitentiary on one felony count of delivery of a controlled substance, marijuana.

The sentences are to run concurrently; however, Hall suspended the imposition of the sentences and placed Bennett-Bertelli on two years of probation.

The judge also ordered him to serve 10 days in jail.

"I think it'll reinforce the message that you don't want to do this again," Hall said.

- Troy Anthony Cook, no age or address listed in the original indictment, was sentenced to six months in jail on one count of petit larceny, a misdemeanor. Hall suspended the imposition of the jail sentence, placing Cook on two years of probation. He also ordered Cook to participate in the Lewis-Upshur-Braxton Community Corrections program, pay $150 in restitution to the victim, and write a letter of apology to the victim.

- Barbara J. Starkey, 55, of Buckhannon, was sentenced to one year of home confinement on one count of driving under the influence of alcohol, third offense, a felony. Starkey must also undergo drug and alcohol screenings through the Lewis-Upshur-Braxton Community Corrections program.

- Chris Lee Howes, 45, no address listed in the original indictment, pleaded guilty to one felony count of failure to provide support to a minor. Sentencing is set for 9 a.m. Dec. 2.

-Hall issued a capias for Fallon Sue Jones, 26, of Rock Cave, who is facing 14 counts each of forgery and uttering and 25 counts of fraudulent use of an access device. The judge also ordered a capias in the case of Ronald Russell McCarty, 37, of Buckhannon, who is facing three counts of delivery of a controlled substance.

 
 

 

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