BREAKING NEWS

BREAKING NEWS

Motion to reduce sentence denied

ELKINS – A motion to reduce or modify the sentence of an Elkins man was denied Monday in Randolph County Circuit Court.

Mark Allen Shiflett, 45, was sentenced in August 2013 by Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong to one to three years in a state penitentiary for one felony count of driving revoked for DUI third offense, six months in a state penitentiary for one misdemeanor count of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance – cocaine – and six months for one misdemeanor count of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance – bupenorphrene. These sentences were ordered to run consecutively.

In court Monday, Shiflett spoke on his own behalf and said he believed the charges and sentencing against him were biased.

“I would like to start by stating that at the beginning of this case, when it started out, I felt it was biased, prejudiced, maybe conspiracy against me,” Shifflett told the court. “I was charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession with intent to distribute suboxone, subutex, I can’t pronounce the big word (bupenorphrene), knowing or maintaining a dwelling for the use of drugs or alcohol and driving while my license was suspended for DUI third offense…

“I had two subutex pills. They blew up the evidence to where it was an eight ball of cocaine. When we came to court, it was the corner of a bag. That is why I took the plea for third offense driving on suspended for DUI, which I was guilty of, and a simple possession which I was guilty of. They blew this out of proportion. I had no baggies, no scales, no nothing,” he added.

Shiflett’s attorney, James Hawkins, said the main goal of the modification of sentence motion was to have the sentences run concurrent to each other as opposed to running consecutively.

“On this issue of modification of sentence, your honor, essentially what we are seeking here is to have the misdemeanors of this sentence and the felony to all run concurrent and not consecutively to one another. Essentially what the sentencing did was make him serve the time on the misdemeanors before sentencing the felonies,” Hawkins said.

“As you can see, your honor, the conviction date is Oct. 2, 2013, the sentencing date was Dec. 18, 2013, and the effective date of the sentence was Aug. 12, 2013. What we are seeking to do is have all of them run from Aug. 12, 2013, effectively giving him credit for time on all of the charges.”

Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker said the state was opposed to a modification of sentence due to Shiflett’s criminal history.

“The state would strongly object to any modification or reduction of sentence. There has been nothing that changed since the sentencing hearing,” Parker said. “As a practical matter, Mr. Shiflett received a significant benefit from this plea agreement. He resolved three separate felony indictments by virtue of this plea agreement. He has a criminal history which is one of the most significant that I’ve ever seen and so, I think the sentence is more than appropriate in this case.”

Senior Status Judge Thomas Steptoe, who presided over the motion hearing, said due to the seriousness of the charges, he saw no basis for modification of the sentence.

“Given this gentleman’s history and given the seriousness of the violation of the law that prohibits someone whose license has been revoked for DUI from again operating a motor vehicle, it would appear that I have no proper basis to modify the sentence that was imposed by Judge Wilfong, so that will be the decision of the court,” Steptoe said.

Also in Randolph County Circuit Court Monday:

– Willard Lobb requested a modification of his bond, which had been set at $50,000 cash only. The amount was modified to $25,000 and the terms were modified to include corporate surety. Lobb is charged with one felony count of attempting to operate a clandestine methamphetamine lab.

– Erik James Wesoloski, 46, of Elkins, pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy as part of a plea agreement. The state agreed to dismiss one felony count of fraudulent schemes as part of the agreement. Sentencing is set for Aug. 12.

– Robert Michael Sparks, 33, of Huttonsville, declined a plea agreement and requested a jury trial. Sparks is charged with one felony count of driving while license revoked for DUI, third offense, and one misdemeanor count of obstructing an officer. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for Aug. 12, while jury selection is scheduled for Sept. 2 and the two-day trial is set for Sept. 25 and 26.

– Courtney Holbert pleaded guilty to one felony count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and one felony count of conspiracy to commit a felony as part of a plea agreement.

The state agreed to stand silent on whether or not the sentences should run concurrent or consecutively, as part of the agreement. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 28.

– Markie Leeann Jeffries, 27, of Montrose, requested a jury trial. Jeffries is charged with one felony count of burglary, one felony count of conspiracy to commit burglary, one misdemeanor count of petit larceny and one misdemeanor count of conspiracy to commit petit larceny.

A pre-trial conference is scheduled for Aug. 12, while jury selection is scheduled for Sept. 2 and the two-day trial is set for Sept. 4 and 5.

– Michele Renee Skidmore, 42, of Belington, pleaded guilty to one felony count of possession of a controlled substance by fraud and one count of conspiracy to possess a controlled substance by fraud as part of a plea agreement.

The state agreed to dismiss seven felony counts of forgery and one felony count of uttering as part of the agreement. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 28.

– Niketa Elaine Lanham, 29, of Mill Creek, pleaded guilty to one count of third offense shoplifting as part of a plea agreement.

The state agreed not to oppose alternative sentencing as long as Lanham didn’t commit any additional crimes between the plea and sentencing, as part of the agreement. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 9.