Inmates enter plea to battery

ELKINS – Two inmates of the Tygart Valley Regional Jail pleaded guilty to battery charges in Randolph County Magistrate Court Thursday in relation to the assault of a fellow inmate in January, according to the Randolph County Prosecutor’s Office.

James Wilson Falls, 27, and Justin Nathaniel Cole, 24, each pleaded guilty to one count of battery, a misdemeanor, Assistant Prosecutor Lori Haynes said.

The pair was arrested on one count of violations of an individual’s civil rights/hate crime, a felony, each after Trooper D. R. Wolford of the Elkins detachment of West Virginia State Police responded to a complaint about an attack involving inmates on Jan. 4. The complaint alleges that Falls and Cole attacked fellow inmate Daryl Goodall, who reported he had been called various racial slurs and threatened many times by other inmates.

Goodall said he was eventually able to enter his cell but Cole “began physically attacking” him, including “headbutting him” and “giving him a black eye,” the complaint states. Officials were able to observe Goodall’s injuries, including “dark black bruising around his right eye,” as well as photographs of the injuries of Falls and Cole, that included “minor abrasions consistent with hand marks on their arms and back,” according to the complaint.

On Wednesday, Falls also pleaded not guilty to one count of malicious assault, one count of burglary, one count of attempted malicious assault upon an officer and one count of retaliation against a public official or employee, all felonies, in an unrelated matter in Randolph County Circuit Court.

The matter involved Falls allegedly unlawfully entering the residence of Matthew D. Ray and stabbing him in November.

Contact Chad Clem by email at cclem@theintermountain.com.