By RACHEL C. DOVE
WILLIAMSON - According to information provided by Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney C. Michael Sparks, a total of seven men who were indicted by the April Grand Jury were once again in circuit court on Monday appearing before the Honorable Judge Michael Thornsbury, where they all entered guilty pleas to charges against them.
Three of the defendants also received their prison sentences during the court proceedings.
• Noah Albert Evans Jr. pleaded guilty to conspiracy (operating a clandestine drug laboratory) in connection with Indictment A12-F34.
Evans was sentenced to confinement in a state correctional facility for an indefinite term on not less than 1 year nor more than 5 years. He was also issued a fine in the amount of $1,000. The defendant was represented by Attorney Stacey Kohari. Mingo County Sheriff’s Department Corporal Norman Mines was the primary investigating officer in this case.
• Jason E. Lester entered a guilty plea to charges of child neglect causing injury, as detailed in Indictment A12-F42.
The defendant received a 1 to 5 year sentence in a state correctional facility and a $1,000 fine. Lester’s legal counsel for the hearing was Attorney Ashley Cochran. MCSD Deputy M.J. Miller was the investigating officer that testified for the prosecution.
• Justin Antonio Patterson pleaded guilty to possession of a Schedule II (Cocaine) controlled substance with intent to deliver as charged in Indictment A12-F48.
Patterson was sentenced to not less than 1 or more than 15 years in a state correctional facility. The defendant was represented by Attorney Paul Montgomery and the investigating officer was MCSD Deputy M.J. Miller.
• Larry Rayser III entered a guilty plea to charges of grand larceny as specified in Indictment A12-F50.
He faces a prison sentence of 1 to 10 years in a state correctional facility. The defendant was represented by Attorney Jonathan “Duke” Jewell. MCSD Sgt. J. Smith appeared for the state and was lead investigator on the case.
• Arvil Runyon Jr. agreed to enter a guilty plea in regards to charges of possession of a Schedule II controlled substance (Methamphetamine) with intent to deliver, as listed in Indictment A12-F51.
Runyon is exposed to a sentence of confinement in a state correctional facility for an indefinite term of up to 5 years. The sentencing hearing for the defendant is scheduled for June 19 at 9 a.m. Runyon’s attorney for the proceedings was Jerry Lyall. MCSD Corporal Norman Mines conducted the investigation.
• Claude Ashley “Peanut” Smith pleaded guilty to possession of a Schedule I controlled substance (marijuana) with intent to deliver in connection with Indictment A12-F55.
Smith is said to face a stint in prison of up to five years when he is sentenced on June 19 at 9 a.m.
Pursuant to the plea agreement entered by Smith, he will also be required to forfeit $1,574 in U.S. currency seized from the defendant at the time he was arrested along with two Honda Rubicon ATV’s, a 2000 Chevrolet truck, a 2011 Ford Focus and a 1999 Harley-Davidson Sportster.
Smith was represented by Attorney Diana Carter Wiedel. Williamson Police Chief C.D. Rockel was the primary investigating officer.
• Chester Woods was the final defendant who entered a guilty plea during Monday’s circuit court hearings.
The defendant pleaded to charges of possession of a schedule II (Oxycodone) controlled substance with intent to deliver as specified in Indictment A12-F60. Woods is exposed to a sentence of confinement in a state correctional facility for an indefinite term of up to 15 years.
As part of the plea agreement offered by the state, Woods agreed to forfeit $4,050 in U.S. currency that he was in possession of when arrested. The defendant was remanded back to the Southwestern Regional Jail at Holden where he will remain until he is sentenced on June 19 at 9 a.m. Woods was represented by Attorney Kathryn Cisco Sturgell. West Virginia State Police Trooper J.D. Matheny was the lead investigator in this case.
The Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has successfully achieved 42 felony case convictions since Jan. 1 of 2012.