ELKINS - An Elkins man was sentenced on a methamphetamine-related charge Thursday in Randolph County Circuit Court.
James Ernest Wegman, 50, was sentenced to one to five years in a state penitentiary and is required to pay court costs. Wegman will be given credit for time served.
He pleaded guilty to one felony count of possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine on May 30.
On Thursday, Wegman's attorney, Dwight Hall, requested that Wegman be given an alternative sentence because it would enable him to attend rehabilitation.
"Your honor, there is no question that Mr. Wegman has a drug habit, he has had for a number of years, but he has been productive," Hall said. "He is a certified HVAC technician, in other words heating and air conditioning. He has maintained constant employment and been basically the sole breadwinner of his family. ...
"Basically your honor, he's about to lose his family, that's the bottom line. I think they have all had it with him. I think they all recognize he has a problem he needs to deal with and wants to deal with. He actually applied to a rehabilitation center in Tennessee. I have talked to the admissions director down there who basically informed me they would take him into that program if he passed a telephonic therapy...," Hall said.
"I think some alternative to allow him to fix the situation would be the best thing for not only Mr. Wegman but society in general," Hall said.
Wegman also spoke on his own behalf, saying he had never believed he had a drug problem but recent events have proven to him that he does.
"For the past 25 or 30 years I have convinced myself I don't have a problem; obviously I do. I have never had an opportunity to address it because I have always put it on the back burner and thought I was OK," Wegman said. "This rehab that Mr. Hall is talking about is a pretty extensive thing, you have to go there and live, it's an every day, every minute thing. I need that kind of help, I can't do it myself."
Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker opposed alternative sentencing, citing Wegman's criminal history involving methamphetamine.
"Your honor, the state would recommend the defendant be sentenced to not less than one or more than five years in a state penitentiary. In support of that recommendation, the state notes that the defendant's criminal history is very significant," Parker said. "The state specifically notes that the defendant was convicted for selling methamphetamine in Florida way back in 1987. He was also convicted of distribution of methamphetamine in Federal Court in 2008.
"Clearly, the defendant has been convicted and incarcerated for distribution of methamphetamine and delivery of methamphetamine going back essentially over 25 years. Being convicted of those offenses on two prior occasions and being sentenced on those offenses two prior occasions did not impart to the defendant on how significant of a crime that is, how significant of a controlled substance methamphetamine is and a danger if it goes to our society," Parker said.
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 Chevy 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.
Police searched Wegman and located an "ice pipe in his right front jacket pocket," and in the vehicle found "a second bag of a crystal like (sic) substance, baggies used for packaging methamphetamine, U.S. currency, digital scales with white residue on top, and a clear plastic bag containing a green vegetation which indicated the presence of THC in a field test," according to the criminal complaint.
Wegman's driver's history indicated he "was revoked for DUI" on March 27, 2008, and "remains revoked until reinstated," Wetzel wrote.
Also in Randolph County Circuit Court Thursday:
Michael P. Crites, 33, of Belington, was sentenced to three to 30 years, one to 10 for each count, to run consecutively in a state penitentiary. He pleaded guilty to three felony counts of forgery on May 30 as part of a plea agreement. Crites will be given credit for time served.
Crites will be eligible for reconsideration of sentence upon completion of the first one to 10 year term. At that point Crites will be eligible for five years of supervised probation and adult drug court.
Gary Duane Cool, 30, of Monterville, was sentenced to one to three years in a state penitentiary.
He pleaded guilty to one felony count of driving while revoked for DUI, third offense, on May 30 as part of a plea agreement.
Randy Kim Kinzy, 32, was sentenced to one to five years in a state penitentiary, suspended for three years of supervised probation.
He pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy on June 2 as part of a plea agreement.
Nathan Joel Fields, 34, of Elkins, was sentenced to one to 10 years in a state penitentiary, suspended for five years supervised probation, completion of adult drug court and court costs.
He pleaded guilty to one felony count of grand larceny on March 26 as part of a plea agreement.
James Edman Hoskinson, 49, of Elkins, filed a motion to reduce the cost per month of his home confinement fee. The motion was accepted and the fee will be $50 for the hook-up fee and $50 per month.
A bond reduction hearing for Jeremy Harris, 35, of Elkins, was rescheduled for 1 p.m. on Aug. 7. Harris is charged with one felony count of third offense domestic battery.