Circuit Court

The following hearings were held November 25 in Pocahontas County Circuit Court before the Honorable Judge Jennifer P. Dent:

A status hearing was held in the case the State vs Eric Dakota Castle, 21, of Snowshoe, wherein defense counsel advised the court that a competency evaluation is pending and asked that a status hearing be held in the latter part of January 2021.

Shelia Smith, 45, of Blue Grass, Virginia, waived her right to a speedy trial. Defense counsel advised the court that plea negotiations are in the works, and it is expected that the defendant will soon tender a plea to the court. Change of plea is set for December 15.

An adjudication and sentencing hearing was held in the case the State vs Matthew D. Walton, 42, of Hillsboro, wherein the defendant tendered a plea agreement to the court. The state related that the defendant has “taken hold of his addiction problem and is taking counseling and rehab.” The state asked that the agreement be accepted as long as Walton remains employed and continues counseling, which is required by the probation department. The court accepted the plea and Walton was adjudged guilty of the felony offense of uttering. He was sentenced to not less than one year nor more than 10 years in the state penitentiary with 293 days’ credit for time served. The sentence was suspended and Walton was placed on probation for two years. In addition to counseling, he is to do 50 hours of community service.

Negotiations are ongoing in the case the State vs Luca J. Byrd, 24, an inmate in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail. A change of plea hearing is set for December 15.

A status hearing was continued in the case the State vs Gary McKenney, 70, of Marlinton, as defense counsel has not received the competency evaluation report.

A hearing on a motion to modify bond was held in the case the State vs Steven T. Goode, 50, of Slaty Fork, wherein defense counsel advised the court that the defendant is following all the terms and conditions, but is asking that the no contact order be lifted with regard to his family. Goode has completed his Drug Court Program. The court lifted the no contact order, and the defendant shall remain on home confinement. Terms and conditions of home confinement do not allow co-habitation.

Harry McLaughlin, 65, of Dunmore, was granted early release from probation as he has had no issues or violations.

In the case the State vs Amanda Katherine Brewer-Long, 39, of Hillsboro, the court granted a defense motion to modify the terms of the defendant’s probation to allow her to travel to Virginia to a rehab center. If she leaves the program or completes the program, she is to immediately return to her home and notify her counsel and probation officer.

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