John D. Easter, 43, pleaded guilty in Tyler County Circuit Court Thursday to an information charge of breaking and entering.
Easter, who is presently serving time for his involvement in a series of robberies in Marion County, is accused of stealing guns, a weed eater, a chain saw and Bluetooth speakers in Tyler County on Jan. 19, while on home confinement probation. After asking Easter a series of questions and being satisfied with the answers, Judge Mark A. Karl asked him what he had done that made him guilty of the crimes. Easter said he entered into the victim's home through a window and stole the guns. He said there were several guns under the bed but he only took two because that was all he could carry. He also admitted to taking the other items. He said he put them into his Ford Ranger truck and drove off. Judge Karl then allowed the guilty plea to entered into the record.
Prosecutor Luke Furbee explained that the state's evidence, had it gone to trial, would show that a call came into 911 on Jan. 19 from Starkey about his home being broken into and some items were missing. "Upon investigation in was discovered that the boot prints found in the snow by the window matched those found on Easters boots," said Furbee. He further asserted that they later discovered the items had been taken to Parkersburg by Easter and allegedly traded for drugs and money. The items have yet to be recovered.
As part of the plea agreement the state agreed to dismiss two counts in the case. The plea agreement called for Easter to be sentenced to one to 10 years in the West Virginia Penitentiary for Men with credit for time served to run concurrent with his sentence in Marion County. He also is to make restitution in the amount of $1,500 to Momentive Performance USA and $5,730 to Steven A. Starkey.
Karl imposed the sentence and Easter was remanded to serve the remainder of his time.
In another case, Coy L. Moffit, 31, of Sistersville, was granted a Rule 35 for a reduction in sentence. Moffit has been serving time at the Salem Correctional Center for his part in stealing money from his father who had saved it to purchase a headstone for his wife. Moffit had admitted to taking the money to support his drug habit.
Part of his sentence was to allow him to file for a Rule 35 after he served six months with no violations or write ups. His attorney, Brent Clyburn, said he had served the time and had been a model inmate.
The state stood silent as per the plea agreement. Judge Karl ordered Moffit to be placed on two years supervised probation. He advised Moffit on the conditions of probation and told him to make arrangements to meet with Probation Officer John D. Lantz. He was also told that if he violated any of the conditions of probation he could be sent back to jail on his original sentence.
Barbara A. Wells-Mease, 37, of 111 Jefferson Ave., Moundsville, appeared in court on Thursday without counsel, for a preliminary probation revocation hearing. She was placed on probation in December 2011, after being sentenced to one to five years in prison for attempted delivery of a controlled substance.
Her alleged violation of probation stems from her arrest on Feb. 6 in Moundsville for domestic battery. Karl ordered her to be remanded and to return to court on April 3.
Timothy J. Channell, 49, of 3219 Braden Hill Road, Jacksonburg, was in court alongside his attorney, John Gainer, for a possible plea. Gainer said they are making progress in negotiations and felt they could reach an agreement by April 3.
Channell was indicted by the October 2013 grand jury on one felony count of malicious assault and one misdemeanor charge of second offense domestic battery. Judge Karl ordered him to stay in contact with his attorney and to return to court on April 3. With no objection from the state, his bond was allowed to continue.
Daniel S. Finley, 26, of 201 Dodd St., Middlebourne, was not ready to enter into a possible plea Thursday to sexual assault in the third degree. Attorney Brent Clyburn, co-counsel on the case with Shane Mallett, said he has gone over the plea possibilities with Finley and he doesn't feel Finley wants to agree to anything.
He still doesn't feel his client completely understands the way court proceedings work. Clyburn said he would like a trial date, but it takes a motion for that and time to file.
Karl, with no objection from the state, ordered bond to continue and for Finley to be back in court on April 3.
Brandon L. Rodriguez, 26, of 232 Maple Ave., New Martinsville, was in court alongside his attorney John Gainer for a possible plea. Rodriguez is charged with obtaining money by false pretenses. While an agreement has been reached in the case, the state is waiting on Rodriguez to come up with the money for restitution before signing an agreement. Gainer told Judge Karl they were still waiting on H&R Block to get his tax refund and he feels he will have it by May 1. Karl allowed Rodriguez to remain on bond and ordered him to return to court on May 1.
Brandy R. George, 35, of 209 East St., Middlebourne, appeared before the court Thursday for a expungement hearing. She was asking to have all of her records expunged, including her arrest records. The court granted her request with no objection from the state. Judge Karl told her not to expect it to happen overnight, because it takes a little time, but it will get done.
Gary J. Willey Jr., 33, of Rt. 2 Box 232 A, New Martinsville, appeared with his attorney Shane Mallett for a status hearing. Willey is charged with two counts of embezzlement. Mallett said he is in negotiations and would like to have it passed until May 1. He feels there will be a plea agreement by then. With no objection, Willey's bond was continued and he was ordered to return on May 1.