Elkins woman enters plea

ELKINS – A Randolph County woman pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges as part of a plea agreement during a suppression hearing Thursday in Randolph County Circuit Court.

Melissa Dawn Summerfield, 21, of Elkins, was charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine – that was reduced to a misdemeanor from a felony, and one count of carrying a concealed deadly weapon.

Police arrested Summerfield during a West Virgina State Police DUI checkpoint that took place along U.S. Route 19 in Randolph County on Nov. 30, 2012.

As part of the agreement, the state dismissed a charge of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance – marijuana – and a second possession of a concealed weapon charge.

The agreement was reached because the defense planned to file a motion to suppress evidence and claim that the officers at the checkpoint did not follow protocol, question the validity of the checkpoint and the reliability of the drug dog, and claim it was an illegal search and seizure.

Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker said that he and the investigating officer, Trooper First Class J.R. Wince, had the chance to talk about the circumstances and both felt that the plea was a just resolution.

“We had the opportunity to discuss some of the background history (the defendant’s lack of criminal history, the motion to suppress and evidence),” Parker said. “In light of all those facts and circumstances we, with Trooper Wince, have agreed with this resolution. I do believe this resolution serves the interest of justice and serves the interest of the defendant.”

Sentencing for Summerfield was scheduled for 2 p.m. on July 3.

The charge of possession of a controlled substance carries a sentence of 90 days to six months in jail and a fine not to exceed $1,000, if convicted. Concealing a deadly weapon carries a sentence of up to 12 months in jail and a fine no less than $100 and no more than $1,000, if convicted.

According to the criminal complaint, Wince stopped a silver Honda Accord with Summerfield at the wheel. Wince noticed that Summerfield’s eyes were glassy and bloodshot and also observed that she “appeared to be very nervous,” the report stated.

When Wince asked Summerfield if she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Wince replied that she had ingested percocet by snorting it earlier in the evening, despite the fact that she did not have a prescription for the drug. Wince subsequently administered a series of standardized field sobriety tests, all of which Summerfield passed.

The complaint states that Wince then called for the assistance of WVSP K-9 handler Cpl. G.S. DeWeese and K-9 Officer Servo. The dog performed an exterior search of the car and indicated that drugs were present somewhere in the rear passenger area of the vehicle. Upon searching the area, Wince found a blue shoebox with a plastic bag in it that allegedly contained marijuana, a digital scale and a loaded Ruger 9 mm pistol on the floor of the car, according to the complaint.

As Wince was removing the pistol, he saw a small black pouch on the car seat containing plastic bags; one of the bags was allegedly filled with methamphetamine, while a second allegedly contained capsules of MDMA, or ecstasy. Wince also discovered a small bag of pills, which he identified as Xanax, the report states.

After Wince returned to the police station, he weighed the confiscated substances and determined that Summerfield was allegedly transporting 291 grams of marijuana, 7.3 grams of methamphetamine and 2.3 grams of MDMA, according to the complaint.

Also in Randolph County Circuit Court Thursday:

– Judge Thomas Keadle denied a request for Thomas Chevy Vas, 18, of Dailey, to be moved to a different location within the West Virginia Department of Juvenile Services.

Vas is currently housed at the Chick Buckbee Juvenile Center in Hampshire County. Vas pleaded not guilty to one count of murder, a felony, for allegedly stabbing Dustin “Dusty” White, a Tygarts Valley High School classmate, outside the TVHS Stadium Oct. 26, 2012. White died from injuries suffered during the incident.

The Vas case is scheduled to go to trial in August.

– Keadle accepted a motion to continue the sentencing hearing for Derek Jason Shifflett, 31, of Elkins.

Shifflett was convicted on 27 counts of felony sexual assault in the first degree, 27 counts of felony sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or custodian, and 27 counts of felony incest.