Wednesday, July 06, 2011
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...7-7-'11
- The man recovered from the Ohio River Tuesday near barges just west of the West 17th Street Bridge has been identified as 40 year old Robert Allen McDowell of Huntington. Investigators say the body had been in the river for at least two days, but no cause of death has been determined.
- Bobette L. Grimm, 54, of Parkersburg, pleaded guilty Wednesday to theft of government money, admitting to stealing nearly $20,000 in Social Security benefits. The office of U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin says an unidentified person began receiving survivor's spouse benefits, known as Title II benefits, from the Social Security Administration in 1990, and the money was deposited into that person's account, which Grimm had access to. Grimm continued withdrawing and transferring benefit funds from the account, taking $19,322 in benefits despite the fact that the recipient died in December 2008. Grimm faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when sentenced October 12th.
- Kanawha County prosecutors plan to ask for a delay in the sentencing of Shane Peck, 19, and Joseph Gibson, 18, who admitted they beat and tied up Geraldine Gibson in March. The sentencing was scheduled for Thursday, but Geraldine Gibson died earlier this week, and prosecutors want to postpone the sentencing until the results of an autopsy are available.
- Casey Elizabeth Morris, 31, of Cross Lanes, was sentenced Tuesday to 21 months in prison after she pleaded guilty in February to stealing and pawning about nine firearms. Morris was convicted of felony embezzlement in Kanawha County Circuit Court on October 27, 2006.
- Four years ago, John Miller complained bitterly when Charleston Mayor Danny Jones removed him from City Council's Finance Committee. Tuesday evening, when the post-election Finance Committee convened for the first time, Miller once again took a seat at the conference table after Jones had named him to fill one of the vacancies on the committee. Three former members were lost when Harry Deitzler chose not to run for re-election, and Cheryle Hall and Dave Higgins lost in the May 17th general election. Besides Miller, Jones named Mary Jean Davis and Joe Deneault to the new Finance Committee.
- A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously Wednesday the federal government acted within its authority when it withheld more than $446,000 in Medicaid funds from West Virginia to collect its share of a $850,000 settlement with pharmaceutical company Dey Inc. West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw alleged in a 2001 complaint that California-based Dey billed state health care programs for an asthma inhalant after improperly inflating its average wholesale price. The state and Dey settled the case in 2004, with the proceeds going to McGraw's consumer protection fund and other state programs. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services later withheld $446,607 in Medicaid reimbursement from the state to recoup its share of overpayments. That decision was upheld by a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services appeals board, prompting McGraw to sue.
- The Kanawha County Commission has filed a motion to dismiss the attorney representing Sandra Shaffer, a woman suing the county and city of Charleston for damaging her Sissonville property during a search in April for evidence connected to the 2003 sniper case. County Commission President Kent Carper says the filing indicates the commission believe there's an ethical conflict under the rules of professional conduct, but that will be up to the courts to decide. At the time of the 2003 shootings, Shaffer's attorney, Mike Clifford, was the county prosecutor. Officials say his involvement in that case is overlapping with his involvement in Shaffer's lawsuit which specifically names the county commission, the city of Charleston, the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department, Charleston police officer James Hunt and county Planning Director David Armstrong. In addition to getting Clifford off the case, the county is hoping to have Armstrong and the Sheriff's Office removed as the defendants. Commissioners say Charleston officers actually conducted the search, while deputies provided security. Armstrong investigated the property once it was reported that a meth lab was found. Carper says Armstrong and sheriff's deputies were acting within the law.
- Shelia McCuskey-Moore was officially sworn in Tuesday as the first female police officer in St. Albans in 20 years. She's only the second woman officer in the town's history. McCuskey-Moore has worked as a reserve officer for the past six years without pay. During that time, she's volunteered about 25 hours per week to help the department. McCuskey-Moore will begin classes at the West Virginia State Police Academy on July 18th. She's scheduled to graduate on November 4th.
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