Circuit Judge Alan D. Moats presided over seven cases this week in Barbour County Circuit Court, including charges of fraud, forgery, uttering and more.
The cases Monday involved a Buckhannon couple were continued 60 days. Crystal Lynn Marple, 30, of Route 1, Box 214, Buckhannon, faces one count of embezzlement by fiduciary, one count of fraudulent schemes, one count of conspiracy and five counts of forgery and uttering. The combined alleged forgeries total more than $2,000 in checks signed under the name Brooks Griffith on various days throughout the month of March 2011.
Silas Elliot Gain, 28, Route 1, Box 214, Buckhannon, faces one count of conspiracy and one count of fraudulent schemes. According to the indictment, both Marple and Gain allegedly deprived Griffith of funds through fraudulent pretenses. The two cases will be tried together.
Moats set March 4 as the date for jury selection and March 11 as the trial date. Barbour County Prosecuting Attorney Leckta Poling said the cases could be tried within two days once the trial starts. Any pre-trial motions for the cases will be heard in February.
Jason Howard, 33, of 189 Crystal Springs Road, Elkins, entered an Alford guilty plea, accepting the punishment for a misdemeanor battery charged reduced from one count of malicious assault.
Howard allegedly struck a man in Sandy's Bar in Barbour County on June 13, 2011, breaking the man's jaw in two places. The alleged victim was transported to Davis Memorial Hospital for treatment and later transported to a Morgantown hospital for further treatment. Howard also agreed to pay a restitution of medical expenses to the alleged victim.
By submitting an Alford guilty plea, Howard accepted the punishment without admitting the guilt. Poling said the plea was similar to pleading no contest. Moats sentenced Howard to one year on Randolph County Community Corrections concurrent with other existing charges in Randolph County.
A Elkins couple charged in connection with the breaking and entering into a Barbour County home will stand trial after rejecting their plea offers. Randy Gerald Bennett, 27, faces one count of breaking and entering and one count of conspiracy. Megan Michelle Bennett, 23, faces one count of conspiracy. Their case is expected to go to trial in 60 days. Any pre-trial motions in the matter will be heard in about 30 days.
Jeremy White, 30, of 314 Harpers Run, Elkins, faces one count delivery of a controlled substance. His hearing will be continued within 60 days. Moats denied his request to be readmitted to bond supervision after White allegedly attempted to falsify a drug test with community corrections. Moats ordered that White remain in Tygart Valley Regional Jail.
Jerry D. Nelson, 36, of 136 South Walnut St., Apartment 1, Philippi, faces two counts of possession of a controlled substance and two counts of receiving stolen property. His trial, originally set for Dec. 17, will be rescheduled, allowing Poling to have a period of time to review a motion to dismiss two of his indictments. All motions will be heard at a later date.