Inmate declines plea agreement

A 71-year-old inmate at Mt. Olive Correctional Center charged with attempted murder rejected a plea agreement in Randolph County Circuit Court Wednesday.

Whorley Jack Ayers – who was an inmate at Huttonsville Correctional Center at the time the alleged murder attempt occurred – will stand trial Feb. 6-7 in the Randolph County Courthouse.

In November, Ayers was indicted on one felony count of attempted murder, one felony count of malicious assault and one felony count of offense committed by an inmate. According to the indictment, Ayers allegedly attacked Phillip J. Frye on Feb. 6, 2012 at Huttonsville Correctional Facility.

After a brief closed-door consultation with his client, Ayers’ attorney, Christopher Cooper, told the court that Ayers had elected to reject the plea offer tendered by Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker.

“My client has rejected the state’s plea agreement,” Cooper said. “This is going to trial.”

Parker would not release any details of the proposed plea agreement.

Also in Circuit Court Wednesday:

  • Randolph County Circuit Court Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong set a March 27-28 trial date for 64-year-old Edward Slaubaugh of Montrose. A Randolph County grand jury indicted Slaubaugh on one felony count of first-degree sexual assault, one felony count of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or custodian and one count of first-degree sexual abuse.

According to the indictment, Slaubaugh allegedly had sexual intercourse with the 5-year-old victim and forced the victim to engage in a sexual act on Sept. 17, 2011.

Special prosecuting attorney Ray LaMora is representing the state.

  • Lonnie Paul Gibson III, 27, of Elkins, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of petit larceny, one misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance, cocaine, and one misdemeanor count of conspiracy. In return, the state moved to dismiss the remaining charges pending against Gibson.

Gibson, Tonya Nichole Bender, 24, of Elkins, and Travis Gregory Hammonds, 22, of Elkins were named in the same indictment, which accuses them of breaking into Haney’s Bar in Mill Creek on April 28, 2012, and stealing two bottles of liquor and money.

When Wilfong asked Gibson what he had done that made him guilty of the offenses to which he was pleading guilty, Gibson said he and Hammonds had stolen “money and liquor” from the Mill Creek bar.

Parker asked Gibson several questions relative to Bender’s role in the alleged incident.

“Tonya Bender actually had no knowledge of (what Gibson and Hammonds planned to do at Haney’s Bar),” Gibson told Parker.

“We told them we had something to do, but we didn’t tell them that we were going to the bar,” Gibson said. “We didn’t want the girls to be involved in it.”

“Did they pick you up?” Parker persisted.

“They did pick us up,” Gibson replied.

“And did you have any conversation with Tonya Bender either before or after she dropped you off about what you were doing?”

Gibson’s attorney, Richard Shryock, objected to Parker questioning his client.

“I understand that Mr. Parker is trying to establish a case against another person, but I don’t think this is the appropriate format for a cross-examination,” Shryock said.

“Part of the plea agreement states that (Gibson) has agreed to give sworn statements under oath, and if the defense objects, then the state will withdraw the plea offer,” Parker countered.

Parker posed no further questions to Gibson, and Wilfong subsequently accepted Gibson’s guilty plea.

Bender, the Elkins woman named in the same indictment, rejected a plea offer put forth by the state Wednesday.

  • Benjamin William Cottrell III, 30, of Elkins pleaded guilty to two felony counts of failure to register as a sex offender or provide notice of registration.

Cottrell told Wilfong that he didn’t provide his entire physical address to authorities and also failed to register his cell phone number.

A sentencing hearing is set for 9 a.m. Feb. 21.

  • Allen Jay Demastus, 35, of Sutton, pleaded guilty to one felony count of threats of a terroristic act.

Wilfong also accepted a pre-trial diversion on Demastus’ behalf, meaning that counts 7-15 of Demastus’ indictment will be dismissed after a period of two years if he does not violate any laws, keeps in contact with his attorney, Timothy Prentice, and has no indirect or direct contact with the victim in the case.

Demastus told Wilfong that he was guilty because, “I was having a bad day and said things I shouldn’t have said” to a nurse at the Tygart Valley Regional Jail.

“What did you say to her?” Wilfong asked.

“I didn’t feel I was getting the medical treatment that I needed, so I said that when I got out, I was going to pay her a visit,” Demastus responded.

“And did you say this in a threatening manner?” Wilfong inquired.

“Yes, I did,” Demastus said.

Sentencing is slated for 2:30 p.m. March 8.

  • Christopher Defibaugh, 32, of Mill Creek, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance, marijuana, and one misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance, clonazepam.

Defibaugh said he’d been pulled over in January 2012 because an officer said his license plate was completely covered in dirt.

“He said I looked nervous, and he searched my car and found a little bit of marijuana in the back seat and about 20 clonazepam in my jacket pocket,” Defibaugh told Wilfong.

He said he had a prescription for the clonazepam.

“Why weren’t they in the bottle?” Wilfong asked.

“To tell you the truth, I don’t remember how they got in my jacket pocket,” Defibaugh said.

“You don’t know why they weren’t in the bottle?” Wilfong persisted.

“No ma’am, I don’t,” Defibaugh replied.

Wilfong said she “didn’t buy the whole ‘I don’t know why the pills weren’t in the container,’ but that doesn’t have any influence on the plea agreement” – which the judge ultimately accepted.

Sentencing is set for 9 a.m. Feb. 21.

  • Roger McDonald, 20, was sentenced to one to 10 years in the state penitentiary for one felony count of breaking and entering and one misdemeanor count of petit larceny; these sentences are to run consecutively. Wilfong gave McDonald credit for time served for one misdemeanor count of destruction of property to which he also pleaded guilty.

McDonald’s attorney, Matthew Fair, asked that McDonald be put on probation so he could undergo treatment for drug addiction at a rehab center.

“I don’t think putting him in prison is going to help him as far as his rehabilitation,” Fair said.

Wilfong ordered that McDonald be held in custody until a spot becomes open at the Anthony Correctional Center in White Sulphur Springs.

“After you participate in the program at the Anthony Center, you will be transferred to the Tygart Valley Regional Jail and a hearing will be held at which I will determine whether you will serve the remainder of your sentence,” Wilfong told McDonald.

  • Brian Broseker, 42, was sentenced to one to 10 years in the state penitentiary for one felony count of destruction of property. Wilfong ordered that a restitution of approximately $2,634 be paid to the victim(s) in the case.
  • Wilfong issued a capias for two people who failed to show up for their hearings – Kristie Dawn Martin who was scheduled to be sentenced on third-offense shoplifting charges and Timothy Wayne Myers Jr.

Myers, 32, was indicted on two felony counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, two felony counts of conspiracy to commit possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and one misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance.

Defendants who haven’t been convicted of a crime are innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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