Wednesday, April 13, 2011
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...4-14-'11
- Samuel Littleton has been extradited to Ohio after being arrested in Princeton, West Virginia in February. As part of a plea deal that would spare Littleton the death penalty, he agreed, during a Mercer County court hearing Wednesday morning in Princeton, to return to Ohio to plead guilty to three counts of murder and face life in prison without the possibility of parole. Littleton is scheduled to plead guilty Thursday in Logan County, Ohio court to the February murders of his girlfriend's daughter, 26 year old Tiffany Brown and Dick and Gladis Russell, both in their 80s. Police say Tiffany Brown was buried in a pile of scrap wood in the basement of her mother's house in Bellefontaine, Ohio, where Littleton also lived. The body of 84 year old Richard Russell was found in Tennessee, and Gladis Russell's body was found in Georgia. Ohio prosecutors say family members of the victims have agreed to the plea bargain, seeking closure as soon as possible.
- The Kanawha County Sheriff's Department was told Wednesday to get ready for an insurance claim. Attorneys for Sandy Shaffer, the woman who owns the Sissonville property where Charleston Police were looking for items related to the 2003 Kanawha County sniper shootings, say she doesn't plan to sue, but instead, hopes to settle the damage to her property with an insurance claim. Insurance paperwork was given to Kanawha County, but no dollar amount was estimated in damages after authorities dug underneath buildings searching for evidence.
- Former Huntington Police Capt. Foster “Pete” Bowen was back in court Wednesday while his attorney, Jay Love, tried unsuccessfully to get evidence thrown out that was collected at a Webster County cabin owned by Bowen. During the execution of a search warrant last year, deputies collected pornographic magazines, movies and pictures, sex toys and condoms, among other things. The judge said West Virginia State Troopers were well within the scope of the investigation to gather the items. The judge also denied a motion to prevent some items collected from Bowen's home in Barboursville. Prosecutors say the victims will testify Bowen often made them watch and/or look at porn before and while he was sexually assaulting them. Bowen’s trial, which is set to begin at 9:00 A.M. Monday, is expected to last two weeks.
- Markus Davis, 33, of Charleston was sentenced Wednesday to 34 months in prison on a federal firearms charge after he pleaded guilty in January to being a felon in possession of firearms. On September 22, 2010, South Charleston Police seized two Ruger .357 revolvers and two pictures of Davis posing with the guns found in Davis’ the bedroom closet of Davis’ South Charleston home. Davis said he posed for the pictures he later he planned to use as the front of a music album cover.
- Christopher Springfield, 29, of Cleveland pleaded guilty Wednesday to possession with the intent to distribute 35 grams of cocaine base in Boone County. The Boone County Sheriff’s Department stopped Springfield’s vehicle July 30th and found a black duffel bag with cocaine base, digital scales and razor blades. Springfield admitted on July 30, 2010 he had plans to sell the cocaine base. He now faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a $2 million fine when sentenced July 18th.
- Cable theft left about 4,800 Frontier Communications customers in the Chapmanville area of Logan County without power Wednesday morning. Technicians were already in the area working on repairs. Frontier Area General Manager Zach Tomblin says the theft of cable continues to be a major problem for customers and the company. Tomblin says the company appreciates the public’s assistance in identifying cable thieves and encourages anyone with information about cable theft to call the Frontier security hotline at 1-800-590-6605.
- A home invasion Tuesday afternoon has left one man fighting for his life. An arrest warrant has been issued for Leo Buggs Jr., the suspect in a shooting which occurred around 4:30 P.M. Tuesday in the Barnabus area of Logan County. West Virginia State Police say Buggs was inside Shawn Kimble's home when an altercation led to the shooting. Kimble was taken to Charleston Area Medical Center General where he is listed in serious condition. Buggs is charged with malicious wounding and possession of a firearm.
- A Boone County man faces up to 10 years in federal prison after admitting that he lied to the FBI about his qualifications while working at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Raleigh County. Former Massey Energy Co. coal miner 45 year old Thomas Harrah of Comfort pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges Wednesday in Beckley. Harrah was charged with one count each of making a false statement on a mine safety inspection document and lying to FBI and Mine Safety and Health Administration investigators after conducting numerous safety exams at UBB prior to the April 2010 explosion, lying about the time he worked at UBB in 2008 and 2009 and signing paperwork concerning foreman investigations inside the mine when he wasn't really a foreman. Harrah never passed the test and made up his own foreman number. Harrah is cooperating with investigators who are conducting an ongoing criminal investigation into the tragedy. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each charge when sentenced August 11th.
- National Park Service Chief Jeff West said Wednesday that runoff from recent rains has increased the flow of the New River, and high, fast-moving water has caused search crews to suspend efforts to find Dean Halsey of Lester. Halsey was one of five men on a boat that capsized near Meadow Creek on April 3rd. Searchers recovered the bodies of 23 year old Paul Malone of Lester and 49 year old Sam Acord of Richmond, Virginia last week. Two others survived the accident.
- Kanawha City-based Highland Hospital officials say construction will begin May 2nd on a new $29 million dollar facility which will consist of a 74-thousand square foot building with 98-beds to meet behavioral health needs. Highland spokesman Jim Strawn says bonds were sold to investors on Wall Street Tuesday and the financial deal will close later this month. Highland was ready to go with the project in October 2008, but interest rates dramatically increased as the recession began. Highland provides psychiatric treatment for children, teenagers and adults from all 55 counties. The hospital will be built on land Highland owns next to its existing hospital on MacCorkle Avenue in Kanawha City.
- During a South Charleston Economic Development Committee meeting on Tuesday, South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullens said a trucking firm is interested in the 14 acres FMC Corp. recently cleared between MacCorkle Avenue and the Kanawha River. Mullens says it's premature to reveal the company's name but he has been assured the company's plan would be a good, productive use for the property. Mullens also spoke briefly about Wells Fargo, which had expressed an interest in eventually moving more than 500 employees from the Woodrums Building in Charleston to a building The Dow Chemical Co. owns at the South Charleston technology park.
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