Breaking Local News
The prosecutor assigned to the case of a central figure in the federal corruption investigation in Mingo County agrees his guilty plea to drug charges should be thrown out. The Charleston Gazette reported that Boone County Prosecuting Attorney Keith Randolph "has no objection" to setting aside George White's guilty plea. Randolph asked the judge return White's case "to the pre-trial stage." A hearing on the matter in Mingo Circuit Court is scheduled for Friday. White argues his guilty plea should be vacated because he was deprived of his right to choose his attorney. Former Mingo County prosecutor Michael Sparks has pleaded guilty to depriving White of his constitutional rights. Former Mingo circuit judge Michael Thornsbury also has pleaded guilty to conspiring to deprive White of his rights.
South Charleston Police are looking for a man who was caught on camera breaking into a business early Monday. Police say the man broke inside Yen's Sandwich Shop in the 600-block of D Street around 4 a.m. Monday, and could be linked to other break-ins across the area. Call South Charleston Police at the anonymous tip line at 304-744-6521 if you have any information, and check WSAZ.com for more Charleston/Kanawha Valley news.
The city of Hurricane is collecting coats this winter for men, women and kids in need. If you have a new or gently used coat to donate, you can drop it off between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at EnAct, Inc., 2727 Main St. in Hurricane, throughout the month of December. The Hurricane Fire Department Auxiliary and EnAct of Putnam County are sponsoring the program, which will provide free coats to anyone who needs one.
Changes are in the works at the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources in response to an audit that found the agency is inefficient. DHHR Secretary Karen Bowling plans to break the agency into three divisions covering human services, health services, and insurance and strategic planning. Each division would oversee several bureaus within the agency. Deputy secretaries would be appointed to lead the divisions. The plan was outlined this week at a legislative interim committee meeting. The audit by consulting firm Public Works found that the DHHR wastes millions of dollars and has a high turnover rate, and the change would help managers more efficiently deal with the day-to-day.
The Kanawha County Sheriff's office is investigating a shooting that happened last night in the 5100 block of Raven Drive in Rand. CPL BD Humphreys says the victim's condition isn't known, but he was taken to CAMC General.
Detectives believe the victim was known by his attackers. He was beaten before being shot. The attackers are described as 3-4 black males in hooded sweat shirts. They fled on foot and then in a white SUV. Anyone with information should call the 24 hour line at 304-357-0169 tonight, or the detective bureau tomorrow at 304-357-0556.
A man accused of murder entered a not guilty plea in court Monday. Steven Michael Randolph is accused of killing David Lemons in May in Elkview, and prosecutors have claimed that Randolph fired a crossbow at Lemons and then attacked him with an ax or hammer. Randolph allegedly told police he killed Lemons when he caught him with his wife and they got into a fight. The trial date was set for March 10th, and he's being held without bond until then.
The woman who hit an off-duty West Virginia state trooper with car last year will spend time in jail. A Kanawha County judge sentenced Jennifer Garretson to an indeterminate 2 to 10 year sentence with credit for time served. The new sentence for malicious wounding will run concurrently to one she's already serving on unrelated forgery and uttering charges. Garretson is accused of hitting Sgt. Aaron Nichols with her vehicle on New Year's Eve, 2012. Sgt. Nichols is still dealing with the effects of the accident, including hearing loss.
After a violent shootout Friday in Nicholas County, two families wasted no time filing a lawsuit against law enforcement officials, asking for compensation. Attorneys say the lawsuit was a last resort, and that none of the defendants named in the suit offered to clean up the bullets and damage from the gunfire. Defendants named in the suit include Nicholas County sheriff, West Virginia State Police, the Summersville and Richwood Police Departments and the Fayette County Sheriff's Department. 84-year old John Evans was killed in the gunfight at his home, and neighbors say their homes were also damaged.
A body found Friday by a hunter in a wooded area of Putnam County has been positively identified as that of a man missing. The remains were identified as 23-year old Brian "Chris" Sexton, who was last seen Oct. 14. The cause of death was undetermined, pending toxicology tests. There is no evidence of physical trauma, violence or foul play, according to the State Medical Examiner's office. For more information, go to WSAZ.COM
An autopsy will confirm the identity today, but Putnam County deputies say a hunter found the body of Brian Sexton, who had been missing since October. The body was found Friday afternoon in the woods off of Interstate 64 in Scott Depot. Family members had asked for the public's help finding Sexton after he was last seen at a party in Scott Depot October 14th. Investigators don't suspect foul play, but local deputies along with FBI are continuing to investigate.