ELKINS - The case of an Elkins man accused of not supplying required registration information as a sex offender will go forward to Randolph County Circuit Court.
William Kight Gibson, 78, is charged with one felony count of failure to register or provide notice of registration changes. He is currently free on a $10,000 cash or surety bond.
On Tuesday in Randolph County Magistrate Court, the investigating officer, Sgt. J.M. Menendez of the West Virginia State Police, was was called to testify during the preliminary hearing.
Randolph County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Lori Haynes asked Menendez to describe how he came in contact with Gibson at the time of the alleged incident.
Menendez said he noticed a vehicle at Gibson's residence while doing a routine residence check of known registered sexual offenders.
"As part of the sex offender registration process, occasionally we do random checks and they wanted us to obtain GPS coordinates for the sex offender registration addresses, so that's what I was doing," Menendez said. "I was going around the different sex offenders and getting the GPS coordinates to their residences and Mr. Gibson wasn't home. I was basically checking with him to make sure everything else was OK as well and I noticed this red truck sitting in his driveway."
Menendez said he asked Gibson about the truck and was told he was borrowing the truck from a friend.
"I asked him about this red truck and he stated that he had had it for several days, and he said it was a friend's truck and I said, 'Well, how often do you have your friend's truck?' and he said, 'I just borrow it whenever I need it,'" he said.
Menendez added he drove by the residence after speaking with Gibson to see how long the truck remained there. Menedez also noted Gibson has, at numerous points in years past, signed the Sexual Offender Responsibility Forms that instruct him he is to notify the police of registration changes, including vehicles that he uses.
Gibson's attorney, Mike Mullins, cross-examined Menendez and asked him if he had witnessed Gibson operating the vehicle.
"Did you ever see Mr. Gibson drive the truck?" Mullins asked.
"No, sir, I did not," Menendez replied.
During closing statements, Haynes said she believed the state had met the burden of probable cause and that the case should be bound over to the grand jury.
Mullins offered his closing statement, saying it could not be proven that Gibson operated the vehicle.
"Judge, according to the testimony, the trooper never observed Mr. Gibson driving the vehicle. It sat in his yard for several days in June but the law, which Mr. Gibson never had seen before, said regularly operate by a registered (sexual offender) and there is no evidence whatsoever that he had ever operated that vehicle," Mullins said.
Haynes pointed out that during testimony it was indicated that Gibson admitted to Menendez he used the truck regularly to haul various items.
Randolph County Magistrate Ben Shepler ruled there was enough evidence to bind the case over to the grand jury.
Gibson is required to register as a lifetime sexual offender due to a felony conviction for first degree sexual assault on Oct. 1, 1992, in Phelps County, Mo.
Gibson was also convicted of aggravated indecent liberties with a child on April 14, 1997, in Johnson County, Kansas.