Tuesday, April 12, 2011
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...4-13-'11
- A jury has been seated in the trial of former Huntington Police Capt. 81 year old Foster "Pete" Bowen. Bowen faces charges of sexual assault and sexual abuse of boys ranging in age from 11 to 16 which prosecutors say occurred at his Barboursville home or his Webster County cabin between 1981 and 2003.. Trial is set to begin Monday and is expected to last up to two weeks.
- James M. Downey, 60, of St. Albans, was in Kanawha Circuit Court Monday, the day his trial was scheduled to begin, but the trial was postponed. Downey is facing first-degree murder for the July 4, 2010 shooting death of 27 year old Brandon Hall of St. Albans. Police say Downey went to Hall's McKinley Avenue home with a .40 caliber handgun around 2:00 A.M. to confront him because he felt Hall was a bad influence on his daughter and partly to blame for her arrest earlier in the day on a DUI charge. Stephen Gaylock, Downey's attorney, told Judge Charles King that Downey desires to plead guilty on April 27th rather than face a jury.
- Jennifer Brick, 22, of St. Albans, is facing up to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty Monday to selling one Oxycodone pill. Brick admitted that, in January, she sold one Oxycodone pill from her St. Albans home to a confidential informant working with the Metro Drug Unit. She is to be sentenced August 4th.
- Charges are pending against the local clerk who falsely reported a robbery Tuesday morning at the BP Little General Store on Pennsylvania Avenue in Charleston. Charleston Police say, by Tuesday afternoon, the clerk had admitted to lying when he claimed a black man entered the store and demanded cash while indicating he had a gun inside the pocket of a green hooded sweatshirt. The clerk claimed to have complied by handing over $400, and he told police the suspect was last seen on Randolph Street.
- After several weeks on the run, State Police apprehended Chester Hensley following a short foot chase in St. Albans early Tuesday morning. Troopers had received tips that he was in the area, where he was originally from. Hensley and Albert Kidd Jr. escaped from the work release center at Pinecrest in Beckley on March 21st after claiming to be heading to a substance abuse meeting. Kidd was captured at a mobile home park in St. Albans roughly a week after the two escaped from the center where they had been since December.
- Mark Armbrester of Charleston has pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute a quantity of Oxycodone. Armbrester admitted that, on December 2, 2010, he possessed several baggies of 30 milligram pills, and he intended to sell more than 1600 pills for profit, while he was on supervised release for a prior federal conviction. Armbrester faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1million fine when sentenced on July 18th.
- House Minority Leader Tim Armstead, from Kanawha County, says Acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin should not have signed the new law that will set aside $100 million over the next ten years for casino improvements. Armstead says it's not fair to other businesses that did not have such an option. The state money for the improvement fund will come from casino revenues. For every $2 spent on racetrack casino improvements, like additional slot machines, $1 in state funding will be available. For The Greenbrier Resort's casino, it'll be a $1 to $1 match. Armstead says there are better ways to spend the money. He says, during the 2011 regular session, lawmakers tried to amend this and use the money for the Road Fund or use it to totally eliminate the food tax, but those amendments were voted down. Supporters of the legislation say the money is needed to help the casinos compete with gambling locations in other states. The legislation will take effect July 1st.
- Kanawha County Schools Director of Facilities Chuck Wilson says construction on the new West Side Elementary School should be finished in June, and the building will open July 1st. The school, located at the corner of Florida Street and Kanawha Boulevard, will be home to about 400 students. It will combine Glenwood and Chandler Elementary schools. Part of the project includes a health center. Because the school will operate on a year-round schedule, students will be in the building as soon as it opens.
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