Wednesday, April 27, 2011
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...4-28-'11
- Closing arguments began Wednesday afternoon in the Foster "Pete" Bowen sexual abuse case. After seven days of testimony from alleged victims, defense attorney Jay Love argued there were so many lies and inconsistencies in the testimonies that it looked like a machine gun went all over the courtroom and tore it to shreds and all that was left was a bunch of lies hanging from the ceiling. Prosecutor Chris Chiles’ closing arguments said, "This is either the greatest conspiracy since Kennedy was shot, or these seven victims are telling the truth.” The jury will begin deliberations Thursday at 9:00 A.M.
- There is a new person of interest in the death of 2003 sniper victim Jeannie Patton. Shawn Lester has already been charged with her murder, but police say they've questioned Monk Ivanhoff of Charleston, and he's a person of interest. Police say Lester and Ivanhoff were friends in 2003 and ran a drug operation out of a garage they shared, which held the motive for Patton's killing. Ivanhoff says he's shocked by the implication. Lt. S.A. Cooper says a witness saw, "Tito Lopez along with Lester, and Monk Ivanhoff was present at times when they conducted a drug operation and were hiding an amount of methanphetamines in a motor block Patton and her boyfriend stole from the garage. Cooper says Ivanhoff asked for immunity if he talked, but he told him no. Ivanhoff says he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and you should pick your friends wisely, but he wasn't involved in the sniper style shootings. In 1996, Ivanhoff was charged with posession and delivery of a controlled substance. He was picked up twice in 1997 on the same charge.
- During his plea hearing Wednesday in Kanawha County Circuit Court, James Michael Downey, 61, of St. Albans, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for fatally shooting his daughter's boyfriend, 27 year old Brandon Hall, on July 4, 2010. Downey admitted he went to his daughter's house in St. Albans, where she lived with Hall, to confront him after his daughter had been arrested for driving under the influence. Downey said he went at night with a handgun, and he shot Hall five times. Downey waived his right to a pre-sentencing report and asked to be sentenced.Judge Charles King sentenced Downey to life in prison with mercy, making him eligible for parole after serving 15 years.
- Small businesses and nonprofit organizations in parts of West Virginia that sustained damage from storms, drought and other weather-related losses that occurred from April 1st through August 3, 2010 have until May 31st to apply for U.S. Small Business Administration disaster loans. The SBA said Tuesday that businesses can borrow up to $2 million. Agricultural producers, farmers and ranchers are ineligible for the loans.
- Jerry Southall, a prominent Jackson County businessman charged with molesting his 12-year-old granddaughter in 2008, has been cleared of all wrongdoing. Last June, a jury cleared him of most charges, but was hung on one count of misdemeanor sexual abuse and one count of felony sexual abuse by a person in a position of trust. The verdict from his second trial finds Southall not guilty on all the allegations of improper sexual contact.
- More than a month after a Belle garage and dumpster were set on fire on March 23rd, a 17 year old Riverside High School student has been charged with first-degree arson. The fires were set in the pre-dawn hours at two different locations in the same alley. A preliminary hearing will be held within the next 10 days. Belle Police Chief Darrick Cox says he has been working with the State Fire Marshal and Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants on the investigation, and they plan to try the suspect as an adult.
- Accused Cross Lanes arsonist Jamie Juzwik had his bond raised to $200,000 dollars and was ordered to stay on home confinement while he awaits trial after pleading not guilty Tuesday to burglary, arson, and domestic battery. Juzwik spent 17 days in the hospital with life threatening burns after prosecutors say he torched the home of his girlfriend, Misty Prusack.
- California fugitive 49 year old David Carnes has been arrested after failing to register as a sex offender in West Virgina. Carnes is also wanted by police in Long Beach, California for the same crime.
- The Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship, which was founded by the late U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd in 1985, has lost its federal funding and will be phased out. The merit-based program provided an annual $1,500 grant to students across the country for four years. By last year, 28,000 students were receiving the scholarship, including 146 in West Virginia.
- Amazon.com has announced it is moving into its new customer service center in Kinetic Park in Huntington. The company says the expansion will create 200 new full-time jobs by the end of 2014. Amazon, a globally recognized company, decided to open its East Coast customer service center in Huntington in 2000.
- The Kanawha County Commission passed an ordinance Tuesday that will require pawn shops in unincorporated parts of the county to register detailed information online for items bought and sold in their stores. The ordinance won't go into effect until June 10th. A public hearing is set for June 9th to allow pawnshop owners another chance to give the commission feedback, but Commission President Kent Carper says he doesn't expect any opposition. A significant difference in the ordinance is the elimination of scrap yards. Those dealers will be dealt with in a separate ordinance. During a county Planning Commission earlier this month, several salvage dealers spoke out against the ordinance that mandates dealers upload information such as the name and birth date of customers, a photo ID of customers, photos of purchased items, and serial numbers for items involved in transactions to a website called LeadsOnline. Under the new proposal, salvage dealers will be permitted to register information with scraptheftalert.com, instead of LeadsOnline, but pawn shops will still register the information with LeadsOnline. Commissioners will vote on the salvage ordinance at the commission's next meeting on May 5th.
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