Six Defendants Plead Guilty in Circuit Court

On Monday, July 14, in Brooke County Circuit Court, six criminal defendants plead guilty to various crimes.

Those defendants were:

Debbie Baker pled guilty to Embezzlement; Michael Summers pled guilty to Domestic Violence 3rd; Crystal McCoy pled guilty to Fraudulent Schemes; Brittany Ressenger pled guilty to Conspiracy; James Stevens III pled guilty to Transferring Stolen Property; and Zac Starr pled guilty to Misdemeanor Breaking and Entering an automobile.

Bethany College Employee Pleads Guilty

In March 2014, Shelly Lough, a former Bethany College employee entered guilty pleas to charges of Embezzlement and Falsifying Accounts that occurred between June 2011 and May 2013. The following month, she was sentenced to 2-20 years, receiving 1-10 years in prison for each count, which will be served consecutively.

Ms. Lough worked in an office that cashed staff and student checks, and covered her tracks by altering records.

Some of the media coverage of this case can be found at:

http://www.statejournal.com/story/24851549/woman-accused-of-embezzeling-more-than-1-million-from-bethany-college-pleads-guilty

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2014/03/05/Bethany-College-worker-embezzles-1-million-to-keep-online-affair-quiet/stories/201403050060

November Term of the Brooke County Grand Jury

In November of 2013, the Brooke County Prosecutor indicted 29 individuals for felonies ranging from embezzlement to murder.

Many of these cases were settled by way of a plea agreement before ever going to trial. A few of these cases include:

William McGee, who pled guilty to the felony of Delivery of a Controlled Substance (Heroin)

Andre Hamlin, who also pled guilty to the felony of Delivery of a Controlled Substance (Heroin)

Lorenzo Herbert, who pled guilty to the felony of Possession with the Intent to Deliver Heroin

Jacob Nale, who pled guilty to the felony of Grand Larceny

Many of the individuals who were indicted during that session continue to either engage in plea negotiations with the Prosecutor’s Office or are to be set for trial in the upcoming months.

Brooke County Murder Suspect Pleads Guilty

On Tuesday, May 6th, Adam Michael Barnhart, 19, of Weirton was sentenced to 40 years for second-degree murder and five years each for two counts of wanton endangerment with a firearm after entering a plea agreement Tuesday in 1st Judicial Circuit Court.

Barnhart’s plea was in connection with the shooting and killing of Frank Tulock on September 8th, 2013 on Hudson Avenue in the Brooke County section of downtown Weirton.

As a condition of the plea agreement Barnhart will waive his right to parole, but although under state law, Barnhart may not waive his right to early release for good conduct, the plea agreement still ensures he will serve at least 25 years of his 50-year sentence.

According to Prosecutor Barki, “the state and the victim’s family are satisfied with the sentence. Although they will never be made whole in this, this gives them some opportunity for closure.”

Updates to Sexual Offender Registry

Brooke County Prosecutor Joseph Barki III reminds county residents that the West Virginia Department of Corrections regularly updates the sexual offender registry as part of the requirements by West Virginia state law.

Residents are reminded that it is not the intent of the State Legislature that the information provided to the public be used to inflict retribution or additional punishment on any person convicted of any offense requiring registration. The Act is not intended to be penal but regulatory in nature.

To review the registry, click here.