Magistrate denies bond modification


ELKINS — A judge denied bond modification for an area man accused of threatening to have law enforcement cruisers blown up after he was arrested.

Vincent Fitzgerald Gibson, 53, of Valley Head, is charged with one felony count of terroristic threats. He remains incarcerated at Tygart Valley Regional Jail on a $50,000 cash-only bond.

Probable cause was found for Gibson’s arrest and the case will be bound over to the Randolph County Circuit Court for presentation to a grand jury.

Deputy S.D. Kyle, of the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, testified that, while transporting Gibson to TVRJ after his arrest on one felony count of wanton endangerment involving a firearm, he threatened the officers.

“He stated that he belonged to the Masons and that our cruisers would be blown up. He kept referring to me and my partner,” Kyle said.

“Did he make any kind of statement that caused you to believe you were in danger?” Randolph County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Leckta Poling asked.

“Yes,” Kyle said.

“What were they?” Poling asked.

“That he belonged to the Masons and they would start with half a stick of nitro glycerin,” Kyle said.

During closing arguments, Gibson’s defense counsel, James E. Hawkins Jr., said it was “preposterous” to believe that the Masons were a terroristic group. He also noted that Gibson was inebriated at the time of the alleged incident, based on testimony given by officers.

“What we have is an individual … who was in a highly intoxicated state apparently, according to the testimony of the officers. He was slurring speech, he was somewhat disjointed in his sentence structure and verbiage, and he even spoke, I believe, in incomplete sentences. He was incoherent,” Hawkins said. “Reportedly he made statements that the organizations, the Masons, would blow up his vehicle …

“(The Masons) are not a terroristic organization; in fact, they are a service organization. The idea that they would engage in conduct like this is preposterous, it’s ludicrous, it’s ridiculous …,” he continued. “This is not terrorist activities. At best, it’s the musings of a drunk after he’s been physically restrained, sprayed with pepper and unceremoniously placed into a cruiser.”

Randolph County Magistrate Ben Shepler ruled that probable cause had been met.

After being arrested on Dec. 24, for allegedly pointing a gun at a man, woman and 8-year-old juvenile, Gibson told Kyle, “You and your partner (Deputy E.B. Carr) f— up and you should have checked my background before you arrested me,” according to a criminal complaint filed in Randolph County Magistrate Court.

Gibson went on to tell the officers that he belonged to an “organization” that would blow their police cruisers up. He added that the group would do it with a “half a stick of nitro glycerine (sic) the complaint states.

Gibson’s original charge of wanton endangerment involving a firearm stemmed from an incident where he allegedly pointed a gun at three individuals.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Randolph County Magistrate Court, at approximately 7:45 p.m. on Dec. 24, Carr and Kyle, received a call about a man who had allegedly pointed a gun at individuals inside their vehicle on Adolph Road near Mill Creek.

Before arriving at the scene, officers saw a vehicle — a maroon Ford Explorer — matching the description given by the alleged victims.

Carr noted in the report that no one was in the vehicle but it was running.

Inside the vehicle was a Marlin Firearms model 60 .22-caliber long rifle, according to the complaint.

A female at the residence opened the door and Gibson was ordered to come out with his hands up; however, he exited the home with a drink in one hand and the other hand near his pocket, and was laughing, the complaint states.

Gibson resisted arrest, smelled strongly of alcohol and had an empty bottle of vodka with him, police said.

Residents of the home described him as “highly intoxicated,” and said he had asked them several times to “take his girlfriend for the night,” according to the complaint.

Officers took the firearm, which had “malfunctioned and jammed.” It also had the safety turned off and was loaded with nine rounds, the complaint states.

A written statement provided by the alleged victims said they were going to a family Christmas Eve party at a residence on Adolph Road when Gibson walked up, asked for the phone number of the female’s sister and asked where she was.

After telling him they did not know, Gibson became agitated and made threats toward them before going back to his vehicle, according to the alleged victim’s statement.

Gibson then pulled his vehicle up next to theirs and pointed the rifle at them, prompting the male driver to get a pistol out of the console of the car to “protect himself and his family.”

The occupants of the vehicle “took cover” and the woman “pinned” her daughter with her seat to keep her down, the complaint states. At that time, Gibson left.

The owner of the residence the alleged victims were traveling to had a surveillance camera on the property.

Carr obtained the video, which shows Gibson approach the vehicle belonging to the alleged victim, and later pulling his vehicle up beside them. After that, the camera is blinded by headlights until Gibson can be seen backing out of the driveway and leaving, police said.

The alleged victims can be seen driving into the woods, away from the home, and calling 911, the complaint states.

A preliminary hearing for the wanton endangerment involving a firearm is yet to be held.

Also in Randolph County Magistrate Court Monday:

• A motion to modify the bond of James Dean Grover Jr., 24, of Elkins, was denied.

Grover is charged with one felony count of breaking and entering and one felony count of conspiracy. He remains incarcerated at TVRJ on a $25,000 cash-only bond.

Additionally, a ruling that probable cause for Grover’s arrest had been made by the prosecution and the case will be bound over to the Randolph County Circuit Court for presentation to a grand jury.

Poling represented the state while Grover appeared with Hawkins as defense counsel. Shepler presided.