In Tyler County Circuit Court Thursday Judge Mark A. Karl presided over a voluntariness hearing to determine if a defendant's statements were admissible.
William B. Neff, 51, of Rt. 1 Box 13B, Middlebourne, was indicted by the October 2013 term of the grand jury on nine felony counts of a sexual nature against a minor child. All are to have occurring in Tyler County.
In February Neff was again indicted by the Tyler County Grand Jury on an additional five felony counts charging him with various sexual offenses against a minor child.
Prosecutor Luke Furbee asked the court to allow the new indictments to be consolidated with the old ones. Judge Karl allowed them to be rolled together.
Defense Attorney John Gainer said he told his client to stand silent during the arraignment and asked the court to enter an innocent plea on his behalf. Karl allowed the plea on all five counts.
Judge Karl asked Furbee if he had any witnesses to question on the statements Neff gave to the investigators. Furbee said he had two. After questioning Tyler County Sheriff Deputy Shannon Huffman, he called state witness State Police Sergeant Charlie Cush. Cush stated he has been with the West Virginia State Police for 20 years and with the State Police Bureau of Investigations Polygraph Division for 11 years.
Both witnesses said they had met with Neff on April 22, 2013, at the Tyler County Courthouse. They said Neff was cooperative and seemed to be in control of his senses. They said they both read Neff his Miranda rights and he understood them and signed them. They both said Neff freely volunteered information of an incriminating nature.
Huffman was briefly cross examined by Gainer concerning the time and place where he met Neff for the interview. Gainer had no questions for Cush. Gainer called Neff to the witness stand. Judge Karl warned Neff that everything he says could be used against him and then asked him if he still desired to take the stand. He said, "Yes." Gainer asked him if he had freely given the information the officers asked of him. He answered he had and that he felt he had answered truthfully but they kept telling him to tell the truth. He said he felt like he was being pressured to tell them what they wanted to hear and he became nervous, so he just told them what they wanted.
Furbee had no questions for Neff. Judge Karl ruled the evidence showed that the statements were given voluntarily and freely without any threat or promise. Karl also told Neff to seriously consider any plea agreement between his attorney and the state. He said, "If this case were to proceed to trial, you could be facing a long sentence." Neff's attorney said negotiations are continuing. Karl ordered Neff to return to court on April 3. Neff was then remanded back to jail.