Wednesday, March 16, 2011
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...3-17-'11
- One person is dead after they were hit by a train near the Dollar General on the Fayette Pike in Montgomery, in Fayette County around 8:00 P.M. Wednesday night.
- Wednesday, during Stacie Smith's murder trial, Joseph Hardwick testified against Timothy Sutherland. He said Sutherland paid him to help cover up Smith's murder. Hardwick will be sentenced Thursday afternoon. His sentence is expected to be lighter because of his testimony against Sutherland. The jury was also shown Sutherland's videotaped confession. Sutherland said, when Smith called him a junkie, he stomped out of the room, got a butcher knife and stabbed her in her chest. Closing arguments will begin Thursday.
- West Virginia has the nation's highest rate of drug overdose deaths. House Health and Human Resources Chairman Don Perdue is calling on Acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin to find at least $10 million in the state's $4 billion budget to fight drug and alcohol abuse. In a letter dated Wednesday, Perdue wrote that the cost of drug and alcohol abuse includes incarceration, medical expenses, lost productivity, and meth lab cleanups. During the legislative session that ended Saturday, Perdue and other lawmakers unsuccessfully pushed to nearly triple West Virginia's tobacco tax to fund substance abuse programs and other health initiatives, but the tobacco industry and retailers fought the proposal.
- U.S. District Judge Irene Keeley has sentenced four inmates at the federal prison in Gilmer County for assaulting guards. Thirty-seven year old Toma Bates will do an additional 36 months, while 28 year old Odell Glass, 29 year old James Jenkins and 26 year old Donelle Kirlew will each serve an additional 24 months. U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld says the four took part in a protest at the prison on September 30, 2009, and refused to return to their cells when ordered, but instead, aggressively rushed and assaulted guards who tried to restrain them. Bates and Jenkins caused injuries to the staff.
- Twenty-eight year old Jeremy Midkiff of Huntington, a convicted felon, has admitted he tried to sell a gun with a destroyed serial number. Federal prosecutors say Midkiff was a passenger in a car pulled over by Huntington Police who found a .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol and an extra magazine of ammunition on the floorboard beneath the passenger seat. Midkiff told officers he had handled the gun and tried to sell it a few days prior. He had been convicted of felonious burglary in Lawrence County, Ohio, in October 2002, so he did not have a right to possess a firearm. Midkiff faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when sentenced July 5th.
- Putnam County Sheriff's deputies are searching for 50 year old Carolyn Lykins of Grayson Kentucky. According to a complaint filed in Putnam County Magistrate Court, Lykins would take a fake check to a First State Bank branch, request the tellers deposit part of the amount into her new account, and give her the balance in cash or a traveler's check. She would then go to another county branch of First State Bank and repeat the process before the banks received notification the checks were fraudulent. On May 5, Lykins went to the First State Bank in Hurricane and gave the teller a $1,250 check from a closed Citizens Bank account and asked the employee to deposit $250 into her First State account and give her the rest in cash. She returned to the bank later that day and gave a teller $3,500 in cash and a $2,500 check from another closed account from a Kentucky credit union and asked for a $6,000 traveler's check. The teller made the traveler's check, but told Lykins she needed to step inside and sign for it. Lykins told the teller to deposit all of it into her account and drove away. During an investigation, it was found that Lykins never had an account at either Citizen's Bank or the credit union. From April 28th to May 5, 2010, Lykins allegedly made $15,000 in fraudulent transactions.
- Police are searching for 27 year old Jerod Miles Gatens of Leon, in Mason County, who allegedly used a stolen debit card to make purchases at a Hurricane Wal-Mart. Gatens faces felony charges of computer fraud and access device fraud after he allegedly made $124.21 worth of purchases and rent a $1 DVD from a vending machine at the store.
- Acting Governor Earl Tomblin has asked Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Randy Huffman to draft emergency in-house regulations for Marcellus operations for the short term until a compromise can be reached. Tomblin wants lawmakers to spend $2 million to hire eight to 10 new inspectors.
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