Thursday, April 14, 2011
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...4-15-'11
- Samuel Littleton, 37, the man arrested in Princeton, West Virginia after committing three murders in Ohio, will spend the rest of his life in prison. To avoid Ohio's death penalty, Littleton agreed with the plea bargain and pleaded guilty Thursday in Ohio to the February murders of his girlfriend's daughter, Tiffany Brown, and Richard and Gladis Russell, an elderly couple, in Bellefontaine, Ohio. Littleton was sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole.
- Jennifer Workman, a Mingo County mother is asking the full 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a March decision that rejected her lawsuit challenging the state's child immunization law. Workman sued after Lenore Pre-K to 8 School refused to admit her daughter without vaccinations against childhood diseases. Along with religious objections, Workman said she was concerned the vaccinations would cause her daughter to develop autism. A three-judge panel of the Richmond-based appeals court unanimously rejected Workman's claim that the law violated her religious rights.
- Coal producer Alpha Natural Resources says it's hired Paul Vining to run its market development and sales operations. Vining also will be in charge of transportation and logistics, among other things. Alpha says Vining's newly created position of chief commercial officer will take on added importance after the company completes its $7.1 billion acquisition of Richmond, Va.-based Massey Energy Co. Vining was president and chief operating officer for St. Louis-based Patriot from 2008 until 2010. He's also the former chief executive of Magnum Coal when it was acquired by Patriot.
- Brandon Justin Long, 24, of Cross Lanes pleaded not guilty Thursday to first-degree sexual assault, first-degree sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, custodian and person in position of trust and possession of material depicting a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Long is being held at South Central Regional Jail on a $100,000 bond after being accused of the abuse and assault of several different family members in Roane and Kanawha County and of downloading child pornography on his computer. A judge refused a request to lower that bond on Thursday. Long's trial in set for August.
- West Virginia State Police say 63 year old Henery Jackson of Genoa turned himself in Thursday morning in connection with a shooting in Wayne County. Jackson is charged with shooting Walter Adkins at a house on Wolf Creek Wednesday morning after he got a call to come over to the house to aid his daughter who was living with Adkins. Police say Adkins had gotten into a fight with Jackson's daughter. Sgt. Michael Divita says Jackson and Adkins engaged in an altercation, and Adkins was shot with 38 caliber pistol. Jackson's bond was set at $25,000 cash. Adkins remains in critical condition in a Huntington hospital.
- Twenty-four year old Leslie Boggs of South Charleston pleaded not guilty Thursday to child neglect resulting in death. She's accused of being under the influence of drugs and alcohol when she rolled on top of her three-month-old daughter, Raynna Rea Boggs, smothering her. Boggs' husband, Thomas Myers, testified at her preliminary hearing in February. He said he walked into Boggs' home on May 10, 2010, to find her sleeping with her leg on top of the baby. The infant was taken to Thomas Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced dead. Her trial is set for August 1st.
- Breazeale Norris, a Indiana truck driver from Indianapolis who pleaded guilty in February to causing a fatal November 2009 crash was sentenced Thursday morning in Putnam County to 2 to 10 years on a charge of DUI causing death. He was also sentenced to one year each on two counts of DUI causing injury, all sentences to be served consecutively. The tractor-trailer he was driving hit a car full of teenagers on the Eastbound exit ramp of Interstate 64 in Teays Valley. Eighteen year old James Roberts of Eleanor died after the crash and three other teenagers were injured.
- Scott Phalen, 51, of Charleston will go on trial in August after he pleaded not guilty in Kanawha Circuit Court Thursday for allegedly sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl. The victim, a family member, told police Phalen took drugs and alcohol and watched pornographic movies while she was with him and then sexually abused her. He is currently on home confinement and is ordered to have no contact with minors.
- Nell Tekel, 80, of Elkins, died Monday at the Select Specialty Hospital of Saint Francis Hospital in Charleston after injuries suffered from a fire at her home on Maple Lane in March. Firefighters said neighbors went into the burning house and got Tekel out. Tekel suffered smoke inhalation was taken to the West Penn Burn Center in Pittsburgh after the fire. Investigators say the fire doesn't appear to be suspicious. Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday.
- Two Charleston men are facing robbery charges after two separate robberies on the city's West Side Tuesday night. Police say 22 year old Allan Belcher entered the home of 30 year old Shannon Mithchell on Homer Street, fired a shot into the floor near the victim after ordering Mitchell on to the ground. Belcher is accused of then leading Mitchell upstairs where he robbed him of an undisclosed amount of cash and several pieces of jewelry before fleeing on foot. Six hours later, just after midnight Wednesday morning, police were called to Central Avenue for another robbery. Jason Smith, 31, of St. Mary's told police he had just left the KickBack Lounge when Allan Belcher pointed a gun in his face and demanded money. Smith says he struggled with Belcher and was able to get the gun out of Belcher's hands before Henry West Mitchell, 26, allegedly picked up the gun and threatened Smith. Smith told police he fled after Mitchell pointed the gun in his direction. Police say Belcher and Mitchell then stole a 1994 Lincoln Town Car from Ronald Sayles, 34, of Charleston. Officers responded to a call of a vehicle accident at 7th Avenue and Bream Street, and, upon arrival at the scene, police discovered the car was the stolen Town Car with Belcher and Mitchell inside. Police also found the 9mm handgun used in the robberies. Belcher was charged with two counts of first-degree robbery, a misdemeanor transferring and receiving stolen property charge, a grand larceny auto charge and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Mitchell is charged with first-degree robbery and grand larceny auto.
- An audit shows West Virginia's accounting of federal money it received for election improvements from April 2003 to August 2009 contained several errors. According to the audit, the Secretary of State's Office didn't put matching money into a single account with the federal money until 2007, causing the election fund to lose interest earnings. Auditors also found discrepancies between the Secretary of State's balance sheets and the Treasurer's Office's balance sheets. The time period examined in the audit includes the terms of Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, Betty Ireland and Joe Manchin. Tennant attributed the discrepancies to entry errors and differences in accounting procedures. She proposed the state receive credit from the federal government for $2.6 million that some counties spent to upgrade their election systems. Auditors suggested the state put the lost interest income back into the election account
- The 2011 Work Zone Safety and Awareness season kicked off at the State Capitol Complex in Charleston Thursday. During the national campaign, West Virginia State Police plan to crack down on drivers who violate work zone speed limits, to reduce the number of work zone fatalities in the state. The 2011 Work Zone Safety and Awareness season runs from April through November.
- Pressured by local scrap metal dealers, the Kanawha County Planning Commission decided Wednesday to delay action on an ordinance that would require pawn shops and scrap dealers to register information online with a private company based out of Houston, TX known as LeadsOnline. The Kanawha County Sheriff's Department, which proposed the ordinance last month amid mounting problems with gun and copper thefts, would then be able to search the database for stolen items or convicted felons. Greg Sayre, who represented The Recycling Center of St. Albans at the meeting, said the ordinance covers anyone who sells anything worth over $50, leaving the county to be allowed to regulate the Capital Flea Market, newspaper classified advertisements and even any yard sale in the county. Some Planning Commission members suggested injecting certain exemptions into the ordinance to avoid those problems. The Commission meets again on May 11th.
- Officials at Flinn Elementary near Sissonville cut the ribbon Wednesday on a new structure that will house students from Bonham Elementary next fall. The building includes six new classrooms, a music room, an art room, two new special education classrooms, a new activity room, a larger kitchen and a new cafeteria. Kanawha County Schools Superintendent Dr. Ron Duerring says Bonham Elementary, located at Kanawha Two Mile Road, has had trouble in the past with flooding. Bonham will be closed after this year, and students will begin attending Flinn in August. Construction at the site began about a year ago.
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