Judge denies bond in murder case

An Elkins man who allegedly shot and killed another man while the two were riding in a car in July will continue to be held without bond, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong denied a defense motion to set bond, ordering that Wade Allen Raese, 25, be held without bond on charges of first-degree murder during a hearing in Randolph County Circuit Court.

Wednesday’s hearing marked the second time Wilfong has denied a motion by Raese’s attorney, Dwight Hall, to set bond; she also did so during a hearing Aug. 8 in Circuit Court.

Raese is accused of fatally shooting 45-year-old Ryan Earl Young of Duncan, S.C., July 15 while Raese, Young and an acquaintance of the two were riding in a car in the Highland Park area of Randolph County.

Hall told Wilfong Raese posed no flight risk and would appear in court when summoned.

“He’s a lifelong resident of Randolph County, and he has a lot of ties to the community,” Hall told Wilfong. “He’s not a violent individual. He’s presumed innocent until the state is able to prove he’s guilty, if they are able.”

Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker objected to Hall’s motion, saying, “This is a capital offense. Nothing’s changed since the motion for bond was initially denied, other than he waived his preliminary hearing (on Aug.13). I think there’s a serious threat to the public.”

Wilfong again denied the motion and also denied Hall’s request that Raese be permitted to leave the Tygart Valley Regional Jail temporarily so he could travel to the hospital to witness the birth of his child.

“His girlfriend is expecting and is very close to giving birth,” Hall said. “We would ask that he be able to be there for the birth of his child.”

“I can’t do that,” Wilfong replied. “He’s being held on a murder charge.”

Raese was initially charged with attempted murder; however, police amended that charge to first-degree murder when the victim, Young, died at Ruby Memorial Hospital on July 20, several days after suffering a fatal gunshot wound to the back of the head.

Also in Randolph County Circuit Court Wednesday:

– Wilfong denied a defense motion for a change of venue in the case of Bradley Allen Reed, 54, who was indicted in June 2012 on one felony count of leaving the scene of a crash resulting in death, and misdemeanor counts of negligent homicide, unlawful taking of a vehicle, unsecured load and petit larceny.

Reed’s attorney, James Hawkins, asked for Reed’s trial to be moved because of “extensive pretrial publicity.”

“Because of the way this case has been displayed and presented in the media, it’s our belief Mr. Reed cannot get a fair trial in Randolph County,” Hawkins said.

Parker objected to a change of venue, noting extensive media coverage alone doesn’t merit a change of venue.

Wilfong denied the motion.

“We haven’t even attempted to impanel a jury,” she said. “There’s no evidence that the community has a hostile sentiment.”

Reed is accused of causing the Nov. 5, 2011, accident that killed 63-year-old Martha Rose of Beverly. According to previous reports, Reed allegedly was driving a red Dodge Neon hauling a trailer, which was carrying unsecured stolen vehicle rotors. One of the rotors fell off the trailer near Dotson Run Road and smashed through the windshield of a Dodge Caravan occupied by Roger and Martha Rose. The rotor struck Martha Rose, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

– Brian Hammer, 51, of Elkins, pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. As part of the plea agreement, Hammer agreed to cooperate with all related state and federal investigations; in exchange, the remainder of the charges pending against Hammer will be dismissed.

Hammer and four other individuals were arrested Dec. 29, 2012, after police allegedly found materials commonly used to make methamphetamine in a residence located at 462 Wilson Street in Elkins.

When Wilfong asked Hammer what he did that made him guilty, he said, “I brought some coffee filters over to a house.”

“I did that last week, and I’m not sitting where you are,” Wilfong said. “Whose house?”

“Barbara Spiva’s,” Hammer answered. “They asked me to bring them and I had a feeling they were making meth.”

Hammer’s attorney, Dorwin Wolfe, interjected to explain that Philip Moyers, one of the individuals arrested with Hammer, had “used all of the coffee filters to make meth” and needed more.

“I owed them some favors and so I brought them some filters,” Hammer said, adding he knew Moyers was cooking meth.

In June, Hammer was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to one felony count of possession of pseudoephedrine to be used in the manufacture of methamphetamine on Dec. 11, 2012.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Wilfong sentenced Hammer to one to five years in the state penitentiary, but suspended the sentence’s imposition and instead placed Hammer on five years of supervised release; this sentence will run concurrently with his 15-month federal sentence.

– Michael Leon Bennnington, 32, of Buckhannon, was sentenced to one year in the regional jail on one misdemeanor count of conspiracy to possess methamphetamine. However, Wilfong gave Bennington credit for time served – 169 days – and suspended the imposition of the remainder of his sentence, allowing him to instead serve three years of supervised probation.

Bennington was arrested with Hammer at the Wilson Street residence on Dec. 29, 2012, on methamphetamine-related charges.