ELKINS - An Elkins man pleaded guilty to a felony drug charge during a criminal motion hearing Friday in Randolph County Circuit Court.
James Ernest Wegman, 50, pleaded guilty to one felony count of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance - methamphetamine - as part of a plea agreement. According to the agreement, the state dismissed the remaining charges against him.
Police arrested Wegman on Feb. 18 after he allegedly fled from police both in a vehicle and on foot. After police apprehended him, they searched his vehicle and discovered multiple baggies of methamphetamine, more than $200 and digital scales with white residue on them.
Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker said the state believed Wegman had intent to sell the drugs, which is why he sought an intent to deliver charge instead of simple possession charges.
"A couple bags were found in the vehicle belonging to Mr. Wegman, baggies used in packaging methamphetamine, U.S. currency, I believe in the amount of over $200, digital scales with white residue on top and the crystal substance testing positive for methamphetamine, so from the state's perspective the state has evidence that would indicate Mr. Wegman had attempted to deliver that methamphetamine and it was not just for personal use," Parker said.
Dwight Hall, the defense attorney for Wegman, said the evidence would lead someone to believe Wegman was, in fact, delivering the substance, so he thought the plea agreement was in his best interest.
"Considering the facts and circumstances, the state has with the bags and the scale and the methamphetamine being packaged in two separate bags, it would make it easy to lead one to believe that it truly wasn't for personal use," Hall said. "Who goes out and buys dope and has baggies themselves? The dealers will have the packaging. Those items in mind, I fully believe this plea agreement is in Mr. Wegman's best interest."
Sentencing is scheduled for 9 a.m. on July 31.
The charge of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance carries a max sentence of one to five years in prison and a max fine of $15,000, if convicted.
According to the criminal complaint, West Virginia State Police officers were traveling south on Route 219 near the Beverly Five-Lane and came upon a blue Chevrolet S-10 truck with the driver and passenger not wearing a seat belt.
Cpl. M. S. Wetzel, the investigating officer who wrote the complaint, attempted to initiate a traffic stop, when the driver, later identified as Wegman, "refused to stop and traveled onto Glenmore Loop Rd. (sic) while traveling in the opposite lane at times," the complaint states.
As the pursuit continued, Wegman drove back onto Route 219, running a red light in the process, according to the complaint.
Wetzel wrote that he identified two passengers who were attempting to exit the vehicle, but Wegman "accelerated on the slippery roads, almost throwing (one of the passengers) out of the vehicle."
Wegman then "immediately turned into Domino's Pizza, exited the vehicle, and fled on foot," according to the complaint. Officers were eventually able to apprehend Wegman and return him back to the truck, where police discovered a "clear plastic bag, with a crystal like (sic) substance lying on the floor board" of the vehicle, Wetzel wrote.
- Also on Friday, a continuance was granted for the case of Raynard Parrack.
Parrack, 50, of Huttonsville and his attorney, Frank Bush, requested the continuance because the state was still awaiting evidence from the crime lab and the state and defense have not yet exchanged witness lists.
Parrack is charged with two felony counts of sexual assault in the first degree, one felony count of display of obscene matter to a minor and one felony count of use of obscene matter with intent to seduce a minor.
Parrack was arrested on Nov. 7 for allegedly sexually assaulting a 4-year-old boy, resulting in the alleged victim being transferred from Davis Memorial Hospital to Ruby Memorial Hospital for his injuries, according to the Randolph County Sheriff's Office.
In addition to the continuance, Bush made a motion to allow Parrack to be permitted to stop wearing an ankle bracelet so that he can be monitored and to ensure that he won't be around anyone under the age of 18, as part of his bond. Bush said the $250 per month fee of the bracelet was a financial burden for Parrack and that he was not a flight risk. This motion was denied.
In a final motion, Bush requested that the court separate the two sexual assault charges from the two obscene matter charges, that date from an incident more than 10 years ago. Bush said it would be prejudicial for the jury to hear all the charges together. This motion was granted.
Judge Thomas Keadle said that once Parrack is tried on the sexual assault charges the court will set dates for trial on the obscene matter charges.
A pretrial conference is set for 9 a.m. on Aug. 28, jury selection is set for 9 a.m. on Sep. 2 and the trial is set for 9 a.m. on Sep. 25.
- Michael Anacker also requested a continuance in his case Friday afternoon.
Anacker, 55, of Elkins, along with his attorney, James Hawkins, made a motion for continuance and a motion to incur costs, of $3,000, for an additional psychologist, Dr. Robert J. Rush, to evaluate Anacker. Both motions were granted with no objection from the state.
Anacker is charged with 13 counts of possession of material depicting a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, a felony.
Anacker was arrested on Aug. 21, 2013, after allegedly downloading and viewing sexually explicit images of minors on a public computer at the Randolph County Public Library, police said.
A pretrial conference is set for 9 a.m. on Aug. 12, jury selection is set for 9 a.m. on Sep. 2 and the trial is set for 9 a.m. on Sep. 26.
The state of West Virginia Office of Technology, which monitors state computer systems for any illegal activity, filed the complaint to the West Virginia State Police officials and claimed that the images were downloaded on Aug. 1, the police report states.
The investigating officers tracked the IP address and obtained the computer sign-in sheet, which identified the suspect. According to the police report, all of the downloads were made between 7 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. on Aug. 1.
Also in Randolph County Circuit Court Friday:
- Lawrence Edward Davis, 40, of Elkins, requested a motion for a continuance as the state had offered a plea agreement and the defense wanted time to review it.
Davis was indicted on three felony counts of sexual abuse in the first degree and three felony counts of sexual abuse by a parent, custodian or guardian. A pretrial conference is set for 9 a.m. on Aug. 28, jury selection is set for 9 a.m. on Sep. 2 and the trial is set for 9 a.m. on Sep. 26.
- Michael P. Crites, 33, of Belington, pleaded guilty to three felony counts of forgery as part of a plea agreement. The state agreed to dismiss felony charges of uttering, fraudulent use of an access device and burglary. Sentencing has been set for 9 a.m. on July 31.
- Larry Thomas Gainer, Jr., 38, of Buckhannon, requested a motion for continuance as the defense requested a psychological evaluation. Both requests were granted.
Gainer was indicted on one felony count of malicious assault. A pretrial conference is set for 9 a.m. on Aug. 28, jury selection is set for 9 a.m. on Sep. 2 and the trial is set for 9 a.m. on Sep. 26.
- Jonathan David Cochran, 19, pleaded guilty to one felony count of nighttime burglary as part of a plea agreement. The state agreed to dismiss one felony count of grand larceny and two felony counts of conspiracy. Sentencing has been set for 2 p.m. on July 3.
- Nathan Joel Fields, 34, of Elkins, pleaded guilty to one felony count of grand larceny as part of a plea agreement. The state agreed to dismiss one felony count of burglary. Full restitution has already been made and sentencing has been set for 9 a.m. on July 31.
- Robert Michael Sparks, 33, of Huttonsville, requested a continuance due to the defense and the prosecution working on a plea agreement. Sparks was indicted on one felony count of driving while license revoked for DUI, third offense, and one felony count of obstructing an officer. The case has been continued until 9 a.m. on June 23.
- Markie Leeann Jeffries, 27, of Montrose, requested a continuance due to the defense and the prosecution working on a plea agreement. Jeffries was indicted on one felony count of burglary, one felony count of conspiracy to commit burglary, one misdemeanor count of petit larceny and one misdemeanor count of conspiracy to commit petit larceny. The case has been continued until 9 a.m. on June 23.