Poling pleads guilty to battery

MORGANTOWN – The estranged husband of the Barbour County Prosecuting Attorney pleaded guilty Friday in Monongalia County Magistrate Court to a misdemeanor charge of battery before offering a public apology to his wife.

William Francis Poling Jr., who said he now has a Dellslow address, was fined $500 and ordered to pay $165 in court costs as part of a plea agreement. He was also ordered to pay $2,000 to Leckta Poling to help her cover any out-of-pocket expenses incurred as the result of his actions on Sept. 2, 2012.

After entering his guilty plea before Magistrate Hershal Mullens, William Francis Poling Jr. turned to face Leckta Poling, who was seated in the back of the small courtroom in downtown Morgantown. He said he wanted to apologize publicly, though he said he had already “done it many times privately.” Leckta Poling did not offer any comments.

The $2,000 restitution must be made within seven days to Poling through her attorney, Michael Benninger. The fine and court costs must be paid within six months, Mullens ruled.

William Francis Poling Jr., 42, had initially been charged with domestic battery, also a misdemeanor. According to the complaint filed by the West Virginia State Police in Barbour County Magistrate Court, it was alleged that he had become suspicious of his spouse’s marital fidelity and wanted to obtain access to her cellphone and emails. The complaint stated that the two were at their residence in Moatsville when William Francis Poling Jr. allegedly obtained Ambien, a sedative and Schedule IV controlled substance, crushed it and dissolved it into Leckta Poling’s drink, which she consumed.

Once Leckta Poling was asleep, William Francis Poling Jr. allegedly obtained her cellphone and attempted to access her messages, cellphone activity and emails, the complaint states.

According to a civil lawsuit filed in Barbour County Circuit Court by William “Bucky” Poling and Mary Poling regarding a property matter, William Francis Poling Jr. and Leckta Poling have filed for divorce in Barbour County Family Court.