Elkins man pleads to lesser charge in drug case

An Elkins man arrested for allegedly growing marijuana in his apartment earlier this month pleaded guilty to simple possession in Randolph County Magistrate Court Tuesday.

Kevin Joseph Stewart, 27, of 114 Third St. Apt. 2, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of possession of a Schedule I controlled substance, marijuana.

Stewart, who was arrested in the early morning hours of May 2, was previously facing felony charges after Cpl. C.D. Cross with the Elkins Police Department allegedly found six marijuana plants, a lamp, a fan and a grow light in his apartment.

But on Tuesday, Chief Magistrate Ben Shepler accepted a plea agreement between Stewart’s attorney, Dwight Hall, and Assistant Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Lori Gray. According to the terms of the agreement, Stewart’s original charge – one felony count of Prohibited Acts A, possession with intent to deliver or possession with intent to manufacture a Schedule I controlled substance – was dismissed in exchange for Stewart’s guilty plea to the misdemeanor possession charge.

Shepler sentenced Stewart to 90 days in regional jail; however, the jail sentence was suspended, and Stewart was placed on one year of unsupervised probation with the specific term that he submit to weekly drug screenings through the North Central Community Corrections program.

Stewart was arrested after police conducted a search of his apartment and vehicle following a routine response to an alarm. Cross allegedly saw Stewart running through the City of Elkins’ parking lot behind the Tygart Hotel en route to Third Street via an alley and asked him to produce an ID. Stewart – who told officers he was hurrying to move his car so he would not receive a street sweeper ticket – did not have his ID with him, so Cross and Sgt. B.T. Pawelczyk with the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office escorted him back to his apartment, where he said his ID was located, according to previous reports.

Cross first searched Stewart’s apartment and then his vehicle, with K-9 Officer Macy in tow.

Contact Katie Kuba by email at kkuba@theintermountain.com.