A Randolph County magistrate modified bond in the case of an Elkins man being held on kidnapping charges.
Magistrate George M. Riggleman altered the form of bond in the case of James E. Cornett, 19, who has been charged with one felony count of kidnapping, abducting or concealing a child, Thursday in Randolph County Magistrate Court.
Cornett was arrested Jan. 22 for allegedly offering two females under the age of 13 $20 to pretend to be a woman's children so the woman, Corcia Smith, who also goes by the name Corcia Ramey, could obtain money under false pretenses from a man, Jimmy Tincher, according to a previous report.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Katie Kuba
James Cornett listens as his attorney, Chris Cooper, asks Magistrate George M. Riggleman to modify his $50,000 cash-only bond. Riggleman ultimately agreed to modify Cornett’s bond to $50,000 cash, property or surety.
Although Cornett's preliminary hearing was slated for 2 p.m. Thursday, Cornett's attorney, Christopher Cooper, and Assistant Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Lori Gray filed a joint motion for a continuance, which Riggleman granted.
Cooper also filed a motion to modify Cornett's bond from $50,000 cash only to $50,000 cash, surety or property. Gray told Riggleman she did not object to the proposed change.
Riggleman said, "Normally I don't do this (when a preliminary hearing hasn't been conducted), especially in a case like this, but since the state does not object, they obviously know a few things I don't, so I'll go ahead modify bond to cash, surety or property."
As of presstime, Cornett remained in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail.
Also on Thursday, Riggleman found probable cause in the case of Ashley Nikole Harrelson, 20, of Virginia, formerly of Elkins, who is charged with one felony count of burglary.
According to a previous report, Harrelson and Jeremy Lee Summerfield, 19, of Elkins, allegedly broke into a Beverly Manor apartment and removed a 46-inch television and a purse belonging to the apartment's resident, Cassandra Dias, on Jan. 19.
During a preliminary hearing on the matter, Harrelson's attorney, William T. Nestor, argued that Beverly Manor Security video surveillance of the incident didn't specifically show Harrelson entering or exiting the apartment of the victim, Cassandra Dias. It merely showed Summerfield exiting the apartment carrying a large-screen TV, he said.
However, the investigating officer in the case, Deputy A.G. Vanscoy with the Randolph County Sheriff's Office, testified that Harrelson had given him a statement in which she admitted to entering Dias' apartment through Dias' bedroom window.
"She said she was there to try to keep Jeremy (Summerfield) from doing anything stupid," Vanscoy said. "I'd probably say the same thing myself if I was caught."
Nestor then questioned Vanscoy's ability to prove that Harrelson entered the bedroom window with the intent of removing any objects.
"All I can say is mere presence at the scene of a crime does not confer criminal responsibility on her," Nestor said.
Gray argued that Harrelson did nothing "to put the TV back" or to "stop Jeremy from doing what he was doing."
Riggleman agreed to modify Harrelson's bond from $10,000 cash only to $10,000 cash, surety or property at the request of Nestor, but declined to find no probable cause.
"I am going to find probable cause and I am going bind this over to the grand jury," Riggleman said.
Despite the bond modification, as of presstime, Harrelson remained incarcerated in the TVRJ.
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