ELKINS - A man who admitted to beating his stepson with a metal pole was sentenced to one to five years in prison Tuesday in Randolph County Circuit Court.
Raymond James Kale, Jr., 29, of Dailey, will be required to undergo 10 years of post-release supervision, as well as registering as a child abuser for 10 years, following his release from prison. Kale has been given credit for 384 days of time served.
Kale pleaded guilty in April to one felony count of child abuse resulting in bodily injury as part of a plea agreement. The state agreed to dismiss the remaining charges as part of the agreement. Kale was originally indicted on three felony counts of child abuse resulting in bodily injury, and one felony count of conspiracy.
Prior to the sentence being handed down Tuesday by Senior Status Judge Thomas Steptoe, Kale took the opportunity to speak on his own behalf and said he was sorry for what he did.
"I am very sorry to be here and I am here to tell you today that I am sorry for my actions," Kale said. "I take responsibility for my actions. I failed as a father, to protect the children, and as a husband too."
Kale's mother, Donna Kershner, and his defense attorney, Todd LaNeve, each spoke before sentencing.
Kershner, while stating that she was upset by her son's actions, asked for the judge to be lenient and allow Kale to come home.
"Well, first of all, I am his mother. My husband and my mother live here in West Virginia as well as Raymond's sister and her husband. We have been supporting Raymond through this whole thing. We are ashamed of what he did, really, but we think he has learned his lesson and it's very emotional for me," Kershner said.
"He will, if released, be coming home and living with me and my husband. There are no children in my home and I also have a job for him, and possibly a part-time job for him where he used to work before he was incarcerated. I am hoping you would be a little lenient, I guess, and allow him to come home."
LaNeve spoke of Kale's childhood and how he struggled as a victim of abuse in his younger years, which LaNeve said may have caused him to act in the way he did.
"Mr. Kale is kind of an interesting illustration of how life will repeat itself. Mr. Kale is a young man, he was in some foster places himself, he had some difficulty in his life, did suffer some abuse as a young man as well and throughout his life has had that kind of dogging him, as it were. It is something that has always been in the back of his mind, something he has had to cope with," LaNeve said. "He has done a good job through most of his life but he was placed in a difficult situation, perhaps of his own choosing, because he elected to marry the mother of the children who were victimized here."
"Mr. Kale, with some limited resources of his own, in terms of parenting skills and ability to go out and obtain services for himself, was doing things as well as he thought he could do and he shared with the probation officer his account of how things had gone and he was trying to use a progressive form of discipline, trying different alternatives prior to the events that happened here and, unfortunately, he got to a point where he just didn't know what else to do and he was, I think, very candid in his explanation with the probation officer that he used more force than he should have and he knows what he did was wrong, but, your honor, again, as I said, this is a case where I think life kept repeating itself," LaNeve added.
Following the statements from Kales, his mother and his attorney, Steptoe took a 15-minute recess before making his decision on the sentence.
"In reviewing the pre-sentence investigation and reviewing all of the information, I have come to the conclusion that the circumstances surrounding this particular event are egregious and I do believe that the court cannot justify deviating from the penalty provided in the statute for this offense," Steptoe said.
Kale's ex-wife, Loren J. Garcia, 31, of Dailey, was sentenced on May 6 to one to three years in prison and will be required to undergo 10 years of post-release supervision as well as registering as a child abuser for 10 years, following her release from prison.
Garcia was indicted on one felony count of child neglect resulting in injury, child abuse or neglect creating risk of injury, and one count of child abuse resulting in injury, child abuse or neglect creating risk of injury.
Garcia admitted to allowing her children to be beaten by Kale.
According to the criminal complaint written by Senior Trooper S.E. Hevener of the West Virginia State Police, Hevener and a Child Protective Services employee met with the boy (Kale's stepson) at his school, where they observed multiple bruises on the boy's body: a wound on his back was consistent with a straight line from a wound on his arm; a wound on his left leg was greenish-yellow in color; and his entire right buttock was discolored black and blue, according to the complaint.
The boy reportedly told Hevener that Kale had struck him with a metal pipe and a belt about 80 times and threw the pipe at him at one point, leaving a circular bruise with broken skin. The boy allegedly said Kale initially struck him about 10 times with the pipe, and then the boy tried to run away, but his mother, Garcia, grabbed him and held him. Kale then hit him with the pipe about 70 more times, the complaint states.
Hevener and the Child Protective Services employee spoke with the girl (Kale's stepdaughter), according to the complaint. She said Kale also struck her and that she received about 100 "whacks" from the metal pipe. Hevener wrote that the girl had yellowish bruising on her buttocks and leg.
Within hours, Hevener obtained a search warrant for the home of Kale and Garcia. While searching the residence, Hevener found a black metal pipe about one inch in diameter and about two feet long "that was an extra piece to a shower organizer," according to the complaint.
Also in Randolph County Circuit Court Tuesday:
- Kimberly Nicholson, 23, pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to possess a controlled substance by fraud as part of a plea agreement.
The state agreed to dismiss one felony count of possession of a controlled substance by fraud and one felony count of uttering. Nicholson was sentenced to one to five years in jail plus court costs, which was suspended for three years of supervised probation and participation in adult drug court.
- Zachary Tyrone Fortney, 28, of Valley Head, along with his defense attorney, Jeremy Cooper, requested a bond modification to modify the terms and lower his bond amount from $100,000 cash only. Steptoe declined to reduce the amount but added options of surety and property to the bond terms.
As part of the modification, Fortney must check in with North Central Community Corrections a minimum of twice a week, have no contact with anyone under 18 years of age and is prohibited Internet access, if bond is met. Fortney is charged with one felony count of abduction of a person, kidnapping or concealing a child and one felony count of third degree sexual assault.
- Randy Kim Kinzy, 33, pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy as part of a plea agreement. The state agreed to dismiss one felony count of fraudulent schemes. Steptoe deferred accepting or rejecting the agreement until the alleged victim, the Elkins K-Mart store, is given the opportunity to give comment on the proposed agreement.
Kinzy and Erik James Wesoloski, 46, who was employed by K-Mart, were roommates and allegedly worked in tandem to steal higher end items from the store. Wesoloski allegedly rang the items up as being cheaper when Kinzy brought them to the register. Reevaluation of the plea and sentencing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. July 31.
The pretrial conference for Wesoloski was continued because his attorney, James Hawkins, had a scheduling conflict. Wesoloski is charged with one felony count of fraudulent schemes and one felony count of conspiracy.
Wesoloski's pretrial conference has been rescheduled for 9 a.m. June 23.