Man charged after brawl in regional jail

ELKINS – A man housed at Tygart Valley Regional Jail for allegedly beating a woman with a hammer on June 4 was arraigned this week after officials said he attacked another inmate.

Larry Kent Arbogast, 38, of Bridgeport, was charged with one felony count of malicious assault after allegedly choking another inmate until he passed out. Randolph County Magistrate Ben Shepler set Arbogast’s bond at $75,000 cash or surety Monday.

According to the criminal complaint, Randolph County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Sheriff A.M. Channell was dispatched on June 5 to Tygart Valley Regional Jail to speak with the evening shift supervisor about items that had been found in the jail.

While inside the jail, Channell was informed “one inmate had choked another inmate until he was unconscious in holding cell H5 in the booking section of the jail.” Channell collected statements from jail staff as well as a written statement from the alleged victim, Jason Chewning, the complaint states.

Chewning said in his statement he was sleeping on the floor when he felt something tap him on the shoulder and he woke up. Chewning told police Arbogast said to him, “How bout (sic) I just do this,” while grabbing Chewning in a headlock. Chewning said he and Arbogast “began wrestling around on the floor” and Arbogast “informed him he was going to die,” according to the complaint.

Chewning said Arbogast then grabbed him with both hands and began choking him, telling police it only took “two or three seconds before he started to go unconscious.” Chewning stated the “next thing he remembered was that he lost his bladder and he remembered seeing his wife give him a kiss,” and then he “saw his wife and kids standing on the porch waving at him,” the complaint states.

Chewing said he woke up unsure of his surroundings and what was going on, until seeing Arbogast being restrained, police said.

Chewning was taken to the Medical Unit of Tygart Valley Regional Jail and was then transported to Davis Medical Center, where he was held overnight and treated for his injuries, the complaint states.

Arbogast was arrested June 4 on one felony count of malicious wounding, after allegedly striking a woman in the head with a hammer. The woman was transported to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown for medical treatment, police said.