Tuesday, May 24, 2011
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...5-25-'11
- In the murder trial of 21 year old Brandon Sherrod, Rosemary Lacy, the girlfriend of murder victim James Williams testified Tuesday that Williams died, "All because of a joke." Lacy told the jury that a month before Williams was gunned down, he filled his nephew's baby bottle with beer as a joke, but Williams never allowed the toddler to take a sip. Lacy says Williams' cousin, Ebony, the child's mother, didn't think it was funny and pressed charges. Lacy said, on November 3rd, 2009, the couple, their children and a few friends had just finished dinner when Williams stood up to take his plate into the kitchen, and she heard gunshots. She grabbed her young son and ran upstairs to safety. But when Williams didn't follow, she went down to the kitchen and found him on the floor. Michelle Bailey who was dating a friend of Sherrod's at the time of the murder, testified Sherrod asked her to drive him and Michael "White Mike" Serrano to a church on the West Side. Bailey told the jury that, while she sat in the car, the two men walked down the street and then returned about 10 minutes later. Bailey testified that, when Brandon got into the car, he said, 'I think I hit him. I think I hit him.'" At first, Bailey says she thought Sherrod physically hit Williams, but as she was watching the 11:00 P.M. news with Sherrod, “White Mike,” her boyfriend, “50,” and another man she saw Williams had been shot and killed. Bailey testified Sherrod threatened to kill her twice if she said anything about the shooting, but two weeks later, Bailey called Charleston Police and sat down with prosecutors to tell them her story. She's been given immunity for her testimony. Sherrod's lawyer questioned Bailey's credibility, asking if she was certain it was his client that shot Williams and not "White Mike," but Bailey responded it was Sherrod who said "I think I hit him. I think I hit him."
- An administrative law judge has ordered Massey Energy and Peabody Energy to turn over information about coal mine accidents, injuries and work-related illnesses to federal regulators. The Mine Safety and Health Administration said Tuesday that Virginia-based Massey and St. Louis-based Peabody refused to turn over information it needed to determine if eight mines in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia should be subject to greater enforcement because of persistent violations. MSHA says the judge rejected Peabody's argument that it could withhold sensitive and private information. The judge ruled that complying with regulations is vital to improving safety and health. Massey says it was trying to protect employee privacy. Peabody had no immediate comment.
- During an arraignment hearing Tuesday, Hughie E. Stover, the former head of security with Performance Coal Co., pleaded not guilty to charges that he provided false statements to federal investigators following the Upper Big Branch mine explosion. In a superseding indictment filed May 17th, charges were listed as providing false statements to the MSHA Accident Team, providing false statements to the federal investigation of advance notice and concealment, cover-up and destination of documents in federal investigations. Pretrial motions will be heard June 28th in Beckley. The trial is set for July.
- A Cabell County grand jury has indicted 20 year old Cieasha Brown on first-degree murder. Police say Brown was arrested March 22nd after fatally stabbing 31 year old Lamar Jackson, of Detroit, in the neck. The incident happened on Rural Avenue in Huntington. After being stabbed, Jackson ran from the home and collapsed on the porch of a near-by house where he died.
- Candace James, 27, has been charged with felony child neglect after Charleston Police found her 2-year-old son near a west side convenience store, walking in the rain by himself, wearing only a soiled diaper hungry and dirty while James was sleeping in her nearby apartment.
- Monday night, Charleston police responded to a call of suspected drug activity at 601 Park Avenue on the city's West Side. At about 10:00 P.M., police arrested 26 year old Andre Lee after police found a 9 mm Ruger handgun illegally concealed in his pants pocket. Lee was charged with carrying a concealed weapon. Police later discovered the pistol had been reported stolen. About 1:00 A.M. Tuesday, officers patrolling the area noticed several people hanging around on the porch. While investigating, officers found several rocks of crack cocaine on 20 year old Derrick Lamb and a stolen 9 mm handgun lying in a charcoal grill. Lamb was arrested and charged with possession of crack cocaine with intent to deliver. Justin Cousins, 19, of Charleston, attempted to interfere with the investigation. Cousins was arrested and charged with obstructing a police officer. In March, Lamb was arrested and charged with fleeing from police and wanton endangerment for his alleged part in a drive-by shooting on the East End.
- A machine developed by Clark International Logistics in Poca will be shipped overseas. Clark International has been awarded a U.S. Government contract to refurbish the tracks of 300 armored personnel vehicles in Beirut, Lebanon. The price tag of the contract is more than $5 million. Part of the work will be done in Putnam County, but the majority will take place in Lebanon. After the 300 vehicles are done there are 900 more up for grabs. The company has a year to complete the contract.
- The town of Marmet has agreed to pay a $56,010 fine for dumping sewage on a hillside for 29 days. Mayor Bill Pauley signed the proposed settlement with the state Department of Environmental Protection on April 15, 2011. The violations stem from a pump outage at a sewage lift station last year. Marmet reported the lift station outage on March 12, 2010, but it wasn't fixed when DEP personnel visited the site on March 15th. The DEP says Marmet has corrected the problem. A final settlement is subject to public comments received by June 25th.
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