PHILIPPI - A Belington man - who allegedly mutilated three dogs over a period of several months and also reportedly attempted to "beat a demon" from his girlfriend during a domestic incident - was declared competent to stand trial in Barbour County Circuit Court Thursday.
William Marsh III, 43, pleaded not guilty Thursday to three felony charges of animal cruelty, one felony charge of first-degree sexual abuse, a misdemeanor charge of domestic battery and a misdemeanor charge of violating a protective order.
The incidents allegedly took place between April 12, 2013, and Jan. 16.
William Marsh III
Barbour County Circuit Court Judge Alan Moats explained Marsh's previous attorney, Shannon Casteel, was removed from the case because Marsh "refused to work with her." Casteel was replaced by Dennis Kittle, but not before ordering a competency evaluation with a psychologist.
Moats said Thursday the doctor's evaluation stated Marsh not only was competent to stand trial, but that he has a "cognitive, rational appreciation" of the charges against him. The evaluation also stated Marsh's behavior was not a product of mental illness.
Marsh was then formally arraigned Thursday for his charges. Kittle asked the court for a bond reduction for Marsh, saying the current amount, $50,000 cash only, was excessive and that his client would likely not be able to post it.
Barbour County Prosecuting Attorney Leckta Poling opposed the motion, citing the seriousness of the charges against Marsh.
Moats agreed with the prosecution, noting the charges alleged "acts of violence against both humans and animals, including mutilation," and said the bond would remain in place.
Marsh remains in the custody of Tygart Valley Regional Jail on a $50,000 cash only bond.
According to court records in the Barbour County Magistrate Clerk's Office, on Jan. 14, Marsh allegedly forced a female victim to engage in sexual acts during a domestic incident. The complaint states the victim asked Marsh to stop, but he did not.
On the same day, Jan. 14, Marsh also allegedly grabbed his then-girlfriend by the hair and pushed her face up against a mirror, screaming at her and telling her he could see in her eyes that she was possessed, according to the criminal complaint charging Marsh with domestic battery.
Marsh also allegedly grabbed her by the throat in an attempt to "get the demon out" and demanded of her that she look him in the eye. The complaint also states that he threw her on the toilet and hit her in the chest, saying, "Demon be gone."
Two days later, on Jan. 16, Marsh allegedly attempted to make contact with an alleged victim who had filed a protective order against him. Marsh attempted to do so by having his mother and a friend leave telephone messages for the alleged victim, the complaint states.
According to one of the three animal cruelty complaints on file in Barbour County Magistrate Court, Marsh is accused of shooting his neighbor's dog with a rifle on Dec. 24. According to that complaint, the dog ran away yelping, but Marsh allegedly returned to take it away. Afterward, Marsh allegedly wrapped the dog in Christmas decorations, propped it up and took photos of it.
As described in another of the complaints, Marsh allegedly mutilated a dog on April 12, 2013, and then took photos of himself with that dog. Some of his photos allegedly show him wearing the dog's skin and biting its tongue, the complaint states.
A third complaint states that on Aug. 17, 2013, Marsh allegedly recorded a video of a dead dog that appeared to have been shot in the neck. The video allegedly depicts Marsh mutilating that dog with what appeared to be a machete, according to the complaint.