Tuesday, April 19, 2011
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...4-20-'11
- Three alleged victims took the stand Tuesday, testifying they were abused by former Huntington Police Captain 81 year old Foster "Pete" Bowen. One victim testified he was abused for eight years, and his brother was also victimized. The victim says Bowen would tell him “you don’t let me fondle you as much as your brother does.” One victim says Bowen made him perform oral sex on his brother. Another man testified that, as he approached 12 years of age, he stopped coming around Bowen’s home but he would see other young boys going into the home, and he knew what would happen to them. He says at that point, he regretted not telling anyone. Defense attorneys questioned inconsistencies between testimonies and prior interviews. One man testified his son had been to Bowen’s home to play one time. The defense questioned the alleged victim, saying in previous interviews the phrase “multiple times” was used.
- Three people are facing federal charges related to an attempt to serve an arrest warrant in Elkins that ended in the death of a U.S. Marshal. On February 16th, Deputy U.S. Marshal Derek Hotsinpiller, 24 of Bridgeport, was shot to death and two other deputy marshals were injured while trying to arrest 50 year old Charles Smith, a fugitive wanted on drug and firearm charges. A 14-count federal indictment released Tuesday named Sherry Lou Smith, 49, of Elkins, Anthony Lambert, 23, of Montrose, and Cassandra Smith, 25, of Elkins in a conspiracy to conceal Charles Smith's whereabouts. Authorities say they knew where Smith was living, but lied to investigators both before and after Smith fatally shot Hotsinpiller. Federal authorities found Smith and raided a house at 319 Central Street in Elkins to execute the warrant. Smith was armed and shot and killed Hotsinpiller. Police returned fire and Smith was also killed. The indictment also alleges Sherry Smith, the wife of Charles Smith, lied when she purchased a 12 gauge shotgun in Elkins on July 10, 2007 claiming she was purchasing the gun for herself when it was really for Charles Smith. It's believed to be the gun used to shoot Hotsinpiller. Cassandra Smith is Charles Smith's daughter and Lambert is believed to be her boyfriend. All three defendants made their initial appearances before a federal magistrate judge Tuesday and were released on bond.
- The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration announced Tuesday that inspectors have a new tool to alert them to potential flagrant violations of health and safety laws. MSHA says software used by inspectors will now pop up a message when a citation meeting the criteria for a flagrant violation is entered, and it will automatically pop up a form for inspectors to fill out so the violation can be reviewed. Congress authorized the use of flagrant violations carrying higher fines in 2006.
- The National Park Service has identified a body found in the New River Monday morning near Quinnimont as that of missing boater Dean Halsey of Lester. The body was found about 10 miles downriver from where a boat carrying Halsey and four other men capsized on April 3rd. Two men made it to shore and the bodies of two others were recovered the following day. The accident remains under investigation.
- Fifth Ward Charleston City Council member Teresa "Tricky" Reed was arrested in the early morning hours of Tuesday after she rear-ended a vehicle at the intersection of Washington and Clendenin Streets in Charleston. Reed failed a field sobriety test, indicating she was above the legal limit. She could not blow into a machine to gauge her blood alcohol content and then gave consent to have her blood drawn. Councilwoman Reed told police she had two glasses of wine. This is the fourth time Reed has been charged with driving under the influence, but this is considered her first offense DUI because one charge was pleaded down to reckless driving and the other two were dismissed.
- Police say 48 year old Hermie "Ginger" Moore of Dunbar was arrested Monday after she allegedly made threats on her Myspace page toward a Kanawha County family court judge. Moore appeared in front of a judge in March after her child was put in the custody of the state. Police say Moore began posting frequent and erratic statements on her MySpace page on April 4th but on Saturday she made a post that "could be construed as threats to the health and wellbeing of the presiding judge and that judge's family," the complaint says. Those statements referenced kidnapping and hiring "hit men" to kill the judge and the judge's family. Moore has been charged with retaliation against a public official and threatening to commit a terrorist act. She is being held at South Central Regional Jail on $250,000 bond.
- A $459,000 project to enhance security around the Capitol Complex is nearing completion, and nearly all 58 barriers are in place, but the Department of Administration never got approval for the project from the Capitol Building Commission, as required by state law. Under state law, the commission is to review and approve or reject "all plans for substantial physical changes to the grounds and buildings of the state Capitol Complex. State Supreme Court administrator Steve Canterbury, an ex officio member of the commission, says it is clearly a violation of the rules and the law. In September, the General Services Division put out a request for bids for "Capitol campus landscaping enhancements." They awarded the contract to Oval Construction, the lowest of three bidders, two months later. The project got underway last month and is nearly complete.
- A widely criticized plan to restructure part of Capital High School to fully house East Academy Alternative School as a day program has stalled. Kanawha Superintendent Ron Duerring says a feasibility study had shown restructuring would be too expensive. More than $1 million price tag was the main reason to change the plan.
- U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller announced Monday that about $5 million in federal funding will go to repair highways in seven West Virginia counties that were damaged by strong storms in March and June of 2010. The funding, through the federal Department of Transportation's Highway Administration Emergency Relief Program, will allow for highways in Logan, Mercer, Raleigh, Summer, McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming counties to have work done. Counties affected by the March 12, 2010 flooding will split $2.6 million. That includes Logan, Mercer, Raleigh and Summers counties. The June 11, 2010 flooding damaged roads in Logan, McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming counties. Those counties will split $2.4 million for repairs.
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