Bond denied for stabbing suspect

The minor accused of fatally stabbing a fellow Tygarts Valley High School classmate at a football game last year is being held without bond on murder charges pending further court proceedings.

In Randolph County Circuit Court Thursday, Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong denied bond in the case of Thomas Chevy Vas, who allegedly stabbed Dustin “Dusty” White, 17, another Tygarts Valley student, outside the TVHS stadium Oct. 26, 2012.

White died from injuries he suffered during the incident, which occurred about 20 minutes before kickoff in a TVHS and Hundred High School matchup.

At Thursday’s bond hearing, Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker requested that Vas, who is being detained in a juvenile detention facility, be held without bond.

Vas’ attorneys, James Hawkins and Timothy Prentice, countered that $50,000 cash, property or surety would be a more appropriate bond. Hawkins suggested there were other measures the court could take to preserve public safety and prevent Vas from fleeing, such as home confinement.

“He’s not at large, a danger to the community or a flight risk,” Hawkins argued.

Wilfong wasn’t buying it.

“This is a capital offense – murder – and the state will hold him without bond,” she said.

In January, Wilfong granted Parker’s motion to transfer Vas’ case from the juvenile docket to the adult criminal docket.

“After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of this case and upon consultation with the investigating officer and the victim’s family, the state determined that this is a case that should be handled on the court’s adult criminal docket,” Parker wrote in a news release at the time. “As such the state proceeded with the motion to transfer the case to adult jurisdiction.”

Parker told The Inter-Mountain Thursday that Vas has been in custody since Wilfong granted the motion in mid-January but said he couldn’t comment on the exact date.

Also in Randolph County Circuit Court Thursday:

  • Benjamin William Cottrell III, 30, of Elkins, was sentenced to one to five years in the state penitentiary on the first of two counts of failure to register as a sex offender, first offense, a felony; and one to five years on the second of two counts of failure to register as as sex offender, first offense, a felony.

These sentences will run consecutive to each other and consecutive to the sentence he’s currently serving.

Cottrell admitted to not registering a cellphone number and a correct address with the West Virginia State Police’s Sex Offender Registry.

Cottrell listed the Huttonsville Correctional Center’s when registering his phone number.

“How is that not willfully defiant?” Wilfong asked Cottrell’s attorney. “At this point, I have to consider that this is willful and defiant.”

  • Louis James Thurston Sr., 65, of Madison, Tenn., formerly an inmate at Huttonsville Correctional Center, was sentenced to six months in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail, which Wilfong suspended in favor of two years of unsupervised probation. Thurston is charged with one misdemeanor count of battery on a governmental representative.

Thurston’s attorney, Dwight Hall, said Thurston was making a cup of tea when a corrections officer accused him of possessing contraband.

“A scuffle ensued and he threw a cup of tea on the corrections officer,” Hawkins said.

Wilfong said Thurston had demonstrated he’s able to comply with probation requirements.

“I’m fairly confident Huttonsville has punished him internally, and I don’t see any benefit to additional punishment,” she said.

  • Christopher Defibaugh, 32, of Mill Creek, was sentenced to six months in regional jail on each of two misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance; however, Wilfong suspended that sentence and instead imposed a three-year period of supervised probation with the condition that Defibaugh successfully complete the North Central Community Corrections program.

Contact Katie Kuba by email at