Three plead guilty to drug charges in court Elkins

The Elkins man arrested for making methamphetamine in an apartment above Lexy’s bar earlier this year pleaded guilty to forgery and drug-related charges Monday in Randolph County Circuit Court.

Ellis Randall Hedrick, 26, pleaded guilty to two felony charges by information – one count of operating or attempting to operate a clandestine drug laboratory and one count of forgery – in front of Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong.

Hedrick and his wife, Melissa Dawn Hedrick, were arrested Jan. 14 when officers with the Elkins Police Department were dispatched to an apartment at 17 Davis Ave to investigate an ammonia-like odor.

Upon arriving, police discovered “various chemicals that can be used to manufacture methamphetamine,” according to a previous report.

On Monday, Hedrick told Wilfong he had been making meth for his own use, but that his wife, Melissa Dawn Hedrick, had neither helped nor planned to use the substance.

“What gave you the bright idea to cook meth above a bar?” Wilfong asked Hedrick following his plea of guilty. “Do you realize how many people you could have killed?”

Hedrick apologized for his actions, telling the judge that although he knew the chemicals used to make methamphetamine were harmful, he wasn’t sure exactly what effects they had until he “got in jail and started to talk to people.”

“I didn’t understand the effects and I’m sorry for what I did,” Hedrick said.

Hedrick also admitted to having changed an amount on a check written to him from $100 to $400 – and then using the money to purchase drugs.

Sentencing is set for 9 a.m. Aug. 13.

Also in Circuit Court Monday:

  • Melissa Dawn Hedrick, 36, also of Apartment A, 17 Davis Ave., Elkins, pleaded guilty by information to one misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance, buprenophrine – commonly known as subutex- and one misdemeanor count of conspiracy to possess a controlled substance, subutex.

Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker said further investigation of the Jan. 14 incident revealed that Melissa Hedrick didn’t share culpability with her husband for cooking methamphetamine above Lexy’s Bar.

“The state has reviewed the case and consulted with the investigating officers, and based on the state’s investigation, it has determined that Mr. (Ellis) Hedrick was the one involved and responsible for manufacturing methamphetamine,” Parker told the court. “There is no evidence that she participated in any way, shape or form.” Parker noted that Melissa Hedrick had submitted to a drug and alcohol screen and tested negative for methamphetamine use.

Sentencing is set for 2 p.m. July 15.

  • Michael Leon Bennington, 32, of Buckhannon, pleaded guilty by information to one misdemeanor count of conspiracy to possess methamphetamine.

Bennington and four other individuals were each charged with one felony count of operating or attempting to operate a clandestine lab and one felony count of manufacturing or delivery of a controlled substance on Dec. 29, 2012, after police allegedly found materials commonly used to make methamphetamine in a residence located at 462 Wilson Street in Elkins.

Bennington told Wilfong he was attempting to purchase meth at the time he was arrested for manufacturing it.

“I asked one of my friends if he had something to get me through,” Bennington told Wilfong, “and he told me there was a meeting at the end of the block.

“So I went there to try and get some methamphetamines, and I got arrested.”

Parker said further investigation of the incident revealed that the meth manufacturing charges were “unwarranted” in Bennington’s case.

Wilfong modified Bennington’s bond to $10,000 personal recognizance.

Sentencing is set for 9 a.m. Aug. 13.

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