Thursday, March 31, 2011
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...4-1-'11
- Charleston Police arrested 35 year old Shawn Thomas Lester Thursday morning in connection to the Kanawha Valley sniper shooting of Jeanie Patton whose body was found next to the gas pumps at the Speedway Convenience Store on Campbell's Creek Drive in Charleston in August 2003. Police spoke to Sam Ranson, a long-time friend of Lester on Wednesday. Ranson told police Lester admitted to killing Patton because she and Marty Walker stole a Chevrolet big block motor from a Rutledge Road garage after he had packed it with a large amount of methamphetamine. Ranson says Lester told him the drugs had been supplied by "a Mexican national named Tito, also identified as Gilberto Lopez-Reyna, and he was responsible for them. Sandra Shaffer told police on Tuesday that Lester had gone to her Sissonville home before Patton's murder to ask her and her husband, Rodney Shaffer, if he could hide on their property because someone had broken into his garage and stolen "the engine and the dope," Lester told the Shaffers he needed to hide because someone was after him due to the theft of the drugs. He was arraigned via video conference from the South Central Regional Jail, and his preliminary hearing was set for April 8th.
- Testimony ended early Thursday afternoon in the trial of a Charleston man charged with rape, and the case was put in the hands of the jury. Donald Good took the stand Thursday during his trial on charges that he raped Rebecca Mowery Hobson and Janet Johnson Smith, two women he had kidnapped from the Huntington Mall in 1987. Good told the court he worked as a delivery driver at the time and his job never took him to the area. Good produced paycheck stubs for his full-time job covering some days in January and February of 1987, but he did not have a stub for January 22nd or February 16th, the days of the rapes. He also testified he had never been to the Huntington Mall. A forensic expert testified on behalf of the prosecution on the validity of the DNA evidence. Forensic officials also testified, saying semen left on the victim's clothing matched the DNA evidence of Good and that only one person out of a quadrillion people could have that unique DNA.
- In a ruling issued Thursday, U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers has allowed environmental groups to continue lawsuits over selenium pollution against Arch Coal and Massey Energy. The environmental groups allege the companies have been discharging toxic selenium into streams for years, violating both state and federal law, including the federal Clean Water Act. The environmental groups accuse the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection of failing to enforce selenium limits.
- Huntington Police have charged 33 year old Michael James Burd with first degree armed robbery after they say he entered the the Rich Oil Gas Station in Guyandotte Tuesday afternoon, laid a knife on the counter and reached in and grabbed around $100 from the cash register before fleeing. Between the time of the robbery and Thursday morning, Burd had been arrested on an unrelated charge.
- Forty year old Lisa Buttermore of Morgantown has pleaded guilty to three counts embezzlement, admitting that, between 2008 and 2010, she stole more than $140,000 from Gianola, Barnum, Wigal & London, a law firm where she worked. Each embezzlement charge carries a possible sentence of one to 10 years, but Assistant Prosecutor Stephen Fitz says he'll recommend five years of probation. Buttermore also must make monthly restitution payments and forfeit money in her retirement account.
- Responding to a call about an outbuilding on fire in the Sanger Road area of Fayette County Wednesday night,the Oak Hill Fire Department was dispatched to the scene of the blaze, where they found a male's body inside the outbuilding. A preliminary investigation between the sheriff's department and the State Fire Marshal indicated the fire was intentionally started. The body was sent to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for positive identification.
- Appalachian Power Co., Wheeling Power Co. and American Electric Power had requested an annual rate increase of 13.8 percent on May 14, 2010, but the West Virginia Public Service Commission issued a final order Thursday that modified the annual rate to 4.6 percent. On December 15, 2010 the electric companies, along with the Commission Staff and the Consumer Advocate Division, presented a settlement to the PSC recommending a rate increase of about 5.36 percent annually which would have become effective March 31st. Thursday's order is nearly $9 million lower than contained in the joint stipulation. The PSC also allowed the companies a lower rate of return and limited the recovery of storm damages. The commission excluded American Electric Power executive bonuses or supplemental compensation. Appalachian Power also will donate $500,000 over the next two years to the Dollar Energy Fund, the West Virginia Utility Assistance Program to help low-income residents pay their utility bills.
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