Wednesday, February 23, 2011
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...2-24-'11
- Federal investigators have cited CONSOL Energy in the July 2010 death of Jesse Adkins, a 39 year old roof bolter operator from Belington. Investigators say CONSOL did not take adequate steps to support the mine wall at the company's Loveridge in Marion County. Adkins was crushed under a piece of mine wall, or rib, that measured 16 feet long by 55 inches high and 16 inches thick. Federal investigators also found that existing equipment at the mine was not able to install needed mine wall supports.
- Wednesday morning, West Virginia State Police in Princeton, in Mercer County, arrested a male fugitive wanted in the murder of an Ohio woman and possibly connected to the disappearance of an elderly couple. Thirty-seven year old Sam Littleton was wanted for murder in the stabbing death of 26 year old Tiffany Brown in Bellefontaine, Ohio. Brown was the daughter of Littleton's girlfriend. He's also suspected in the disappearance of 84 year old Richard Russell and his wife, 85 year old Gladis Russell. Sr. West Virginia Trooper S.R. Moore says a passerby saw Littleton at the Marathon gas station in Princeton shortly before noon Tuesday. However, by the time officers arrived Littleton was gone. Littleton is charged with murder, felonious assault, gross abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence for Brown's death. Police say he has a history of violent tendencies.
- Troopers say, around 8:00 A.M. Tuesday morning, 29 year old Jennifer Kessler was sleeping in her bed at her home on Sunday Road in Fayette County when a gun being cleaned by her 8 year old son discharged, sending a bullet into the back of her head. Kessler was killed instantly.
- West Virginia Delegate Mike Manypenny has introduced the "Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act," proposed legislation that would allow any person suffering from a debilitating medical condition to use medical marijuana. Patients suffering from cancer, glaucoma, seizures or severe nausea would qualify under the program. Persons 18 years old or older, who have never been convicted of a felony drug conviction, would qualify to own six marijuana plants and one ounce of usable marijuana. The bill also requires the use of identification cards and that sales tax be collected and deposited into a special fund for drug prevention programs and abuse.
- Riverside High School was on lockdown for about two hours, beginning at 8:00 A.M. Wednesday morning, as a safety precaution because a student brought fireworks to the school. The Kanawha County bomb squad was called out to do a sweep. Investigators say a 16 year old brought a firecracker to school and threatened to blow up a bathroom. The 16 year old was taken into custody and is facing juvenile charges.
- A Lincoln County couple will be sentenced May 31st after pleading guilty to federal drug charges. Ashley Brumfield, 25, and her husband, Randy Brumfield Jr., 26, pleaded guilty to distribution of Oxycodone charges Tuesday. The couple admitted Randy Brumfield, Jr. sold one 80-milligram Oxycodone pill to a confidential informant in October 2009. Randy also admitted he is responsible for distributing 5000 80-milligram Oxycodone pills, while Ashley admitted she is responsible for distributing 33 80-milligram Oxycodone pills. Each face up to 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.
- Opening arguments got underway Tuesday afternoon in the Kanawha County murder trial of Clayton "Geno" Rogers. He's accused of fatally stabbing his girlfriend Laura Amos last summer in a vacant house in western Kanawha County. His trial is expected to take about a week.
- Forty-nine year old Luke W. Pugh of Jane Lew and 39 year old Chad J. Ferrell of Nettie, two West Virginia coal miners indicted on federal charges that they lied about their credentials, have agreed to plead guilty to unspecified charges when they appear March 8th in Elkins federal court. Pugh was indicted on 37 federal charges in December, while Ferrell faces a 30-count indictment. The men are accused of falsely claiming to be certified to conduct safety inspections and work as foremen when they signed off on examinations in record books. Pugh also is accused of lying to a federal Mine Safety and Health Administration inspector.
- Thirty-three year old Gabriel Hargus entered a guilty plea in a Kanawha County courtroom Tuesday after prosecution and defense lawyers agreed the 44-count indictment against him for solicitation, sexual abuse of a minor, child pornography and forgery would be cut down to two counts. One each for third degree sexual abuse and child porn. Hargus admitted to touching the breast of a 13 year old girl. Hargus is facing up to two years in prison when sentenced March 25th. As part of the deal, Hargus will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
- Former West Virginia Lottery inspector, 55 year old Carolyn Ann Kitchen of Chapmanville, has been sentenced to five years probation after admitting in November that she lied to investigators with the FBI and IRS in February 2008 when asked about accepting money and other gifts from longtime Logan County delegate Joseph C. Ferrell, who owned Southern Amusements Inc. Kitchen accepted money and gifts in exchange for being available after hours and on weekends to open the sealed parts of video lottery machines if they needed repairs.
- Charleston Mayor Danny Jones announced at a city council meeting that city workers will no longer receive sick leave as they now know it. Jones says this is an effort to save money to help pay for pension liability and post employment benefits. Under the new plan, city employees will not accumulate any additional sick time, but they will be able to use time they have already accumulated until the end of this year. Mayor Jones says the sick leave will be replaced with something like personal days. If workers need to take time off, they will have a curtain number of days each year, unlike the system now in place.
- Chief U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin has extended for a month his temporary restraining order blocking Bayer CropScience from restarting the methyl isocyanate unit at its Institute plant. Goodwin had scheduled a hearing to consider a longer-term court order for this Friday, but extended his temporary restraining order to allow time for M. Sam Mannan, a chemical engineer from Texas A&M University, to inspect the unit and advise the court. The hearing has been rescheduled for March 21st.
- Due to an $8 million Medicare computer glitch, Charleston Area Medical Center's cash flow is down about $11 million. The $8 million accounts for about 60 days in a backlog of payments. As of February, $3 million of the $8 million has come in. The billing error also affected CAMC Teays Valley. Tony Gregory, vice president of legislative affairs for the West Virginia Hospital Association, says a programming error in the claims processing software early this year caused a delay in Medicare reimbursements to all West Virginia hospitals.
Links to this post: