Monday, April 18, 2011
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...4-19-'11
- James River Coal Co. announced Monday it's completed the $475 million acquisition of International Resource Partners and its marketing subsidiary Logan & Kanawha Coal. The Richmond-based producer of steam and industrial-grade coal says it used a portion of the proceeds from the recent sales of common stock and two sales of notes for the acquisition. James River says the deal expands its offerings of metallurgical coal used to make steel and increases access to export markets. International Resource Partners was a privately held partnership based in Charleston, W.Va. It operates a total of nine underground and surface coal mines in southern West Virginia and eastern Kentucky. The company's mines produced 1.9 million tons in 2010. James River operates mines in Kentucky and Indiana.
- Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants says a letter from accused murderer Shawn Lester proclaiming his innocence will not change how he approaches prosecution. Lester was arrested earlier this month and charged with the August 2003 sniper-style killing of Jeannie Patton. In his letter Lester says he is "confident" he will be acquitted of all charges mainly because he is innocent. Plants says his office will collect all the evidence that exists, that they can find, review it, analyze it and figure out what can be presented to the grand jury and ultimately to a jury and let them make a decision. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Monday, April 25th.
- Greenbrier County Circuit Judge Joseph C. Pomponio has overturned the conviction of 32 year old David Lee Hurt, saying Hurt's counsel at trial was ineffective. Hurt was convicted in July 1998 after being accused of acting as a lookout when Freddie Lester was fatally shot during a robbery at a Rich Oil gas station in Bluefield. Co-defendant Michael Hopkins confessed to shooting Lester and later recanted testimony implicating Hurt in Lester's death. Judge Pomponio vacated Hurt's life with mercy sentence and ordered he be released on bond.
- Scott Lester Harless, 41, of South Charleston, was arrested early Monday morning and charged with malicious wounding after police say he cut the throat of his wife, 35 year old Elizabeth Harless, with a hunting knife. Elizabeth Harless told police she and Scott Harless had been arguing all day. She said, when she was going to bed, he grabbed her from behind and put a hunting knife to her throat. Harless says there was a cover on the knife and he didn't think he could hurt her. Harless has been discharged from Charleston Area Medical Center where she was treated for a three- to four-inch laceration.
- State Division of Natural Resources spokesman Hoy Murphy says a patrol found a body in the New River near Quinnimont in Fayette County about 11:00 A.M. Monday. The body was located about 10 miles downriver from the scene of an April 3rd accident when five men went into the river after their fishing boat capsized. The search for missing boater Dean Halsey was suspended last Wednesday.
- Thomas Zamow, 58, a Logan attorney, was sentenced April 11th in U.S. District Court to one year in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Zamow was also ordered to immediately pay a $25,000 fine. He pled guilty November 17th to under-reporting his income and under-paying his income tax from January 1, 2006, through October 17, 2007. He is free on bond and is expected to report to a federal institution.
- Fred Hammon and Anthony Randolph were arrested in September after a fight broke out in the parking lot at Andrew Jackson Middle School in Cross Lanes, ending with Hammon firing several shots. Hammon pleaded guilty Monday to wanton endangerment and having a gun on school property, and Randolph pleaded guilty to battery, for hitting two people with brass knuckles. Hammon will be sentenced May 23rd and Randolph will be sentenced June 1st.
- Police say Ronnie McCallister was driving along Coal River Road near St. Albans early Monday morning when he passed a police cruiser, and the officer couldn't see his license plate because of a burned out light. The officer pulled him over and found he had a suspended license, marijuana in his pocket and meth in his truck.
- Jane Kennedy, a physics teacher at Riverside High School, was honored last week when the Kanawha County Board of Education named her the county's Teacher of the Year. Kennedy has spent 27 years as a teacher. Before going to Riverside, she worked in Wayne County, and at Sissonville High School and George Washington High School. Mark Gibson, a custodian at Montrose Elementary School, won the service worker of the year award.
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