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19 drug charges leveled

ROMNEY — Forty percent of the indictments handed up by the Hampshire County grand jury last week involved drugs.

The grand jury met Sept. 1, pulling double duty because the May term was canceled during the state’s shutdown to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

In all, 48 indictments were handed up charging 43 people with crimes. Five people had more than one indictment sworn by the grand jury.

Of the 43, 19 were charged with drug crimes, primarily possession with intent to deliver.

The 48 indictments is a career high for Betsy K. Plumer. Plumer was appointed to the post in September 2017 and elected to finish the last 2 years of the term in November 2018.

She oversaw 33 indictments for her 1st grand jury in January 2018.

Of the 48 indictments sought last week, she oversaw 22 and Assistant Prosecutor Rebecca Miller’s signature was on the other 26. Miller, a Republican, is running to replace Plumer, who did not seek re-election; she faces Democrat Charlie Johnson III in November.

Several of the indictments were joint, meaning 2 to 4 people were charged in the same document with the same crimes. The maneuver allows the prosecution to try all parties together rather than separately.

The drug charges include:

• Jason Robert Malcolm, 35, was charged in 3 separate indictments, with one of them in conjunction with Stacy Lynn Malcolm, also 35.

Prosecutors say the pair conspired to deliver methamphetamine on June 15.

He is also charged with delivering meth on May 1. That indictment includes a 2nd charge of changing the vehicle identification number on a blue Yamaha motorcycle around the same time.

The last set of charges against Jason Robert Malcolm are 2 counts of wanton endangerment. The charging papers say he fired a black short-barreled shotgun twice toward a man sitting in his parked vehicle on June 5. Each shot is a separate charge.

• Three men – Warren Thomas Gray Jr., 21, Logan Allen Kerns, 21, and Brandon Lee Burton, 23 – were simultaneously charged with 3 crimes.

They are charged with possessing heroin on Feb. 28 with the intent to distribute it, conspiracy and running away from the officers who were attempting to detain them. The fleeing charge is a misdemeanor.

• Ceferino Jose Delgado, 35, was indicted with 2 other people on drug conspiracy charges.

Delgado, 35-year-old Lisa Kay Bauerle and 30-year-old Justin Lynn Corbin possession of fentanyl with intent to deliver, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and conspiracy.

The indictment says they had the drugs on June 24.

• Four people were charged jointly with 5 counts of drug possession with intent to deliver and another of conspiracy.

Rachel Beth Ratliff, 33; Shannon Marie Kandill, 40; Roger Lee Haines Jr., 32; and Hunter Remington Russell, 22; were caught on Jan. 11 with fentanyl, meth, heroin, LSD and 4-ANPP, a synthetic opioid.

• Richard O’Neil Levin, 37, and Shannon Lee Smith, 33, were jointly charged with possession of meth with intent to deliver and conspiracy. Authorities said they had the drug on May 23.

• Mark Allen Yost II, 31, was charged with a count of cocaine possession and another of fleeing with reckless indifference. Authorities say Yost ignored a police officer’s order to stop and led authorities on an 80-mph chase through the rain-slicked streets of Romney. They found cocaine on him when they stopped him.

• Chasity Dawn Sisler, 27, is charged with a count of transporting a controlled substance into a jail and a related charge of attempted delivery of a controlled substance to an inmate. Authorities say she tried to bring suboxone into the Potomac Highlands Regional Jail on March 3.

• Todd Bradley Davis, 45, was charged with operating a clandestine drug lab, arising from a June 28 bust.

• Two separate indictments charge Joshua Allen Hinkle, 35, with drug crimes. He is charged with a count of possession with the intent to deliver meth from an incident on Aug. 29, 2019. He faces 2 charges of possessing drugs in jail – one for meth and one for Xanax – from Dec. 19.


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New era, new normal

Masked fans cheer HHS’s 1st game on artificial turf

SUNRISE SUMMIT — The long-awaited 1st football game of the season (on brand-new turf) kicked off Friday night at 7 p.m., and while some things were painfully familiar, there was an energy shift in the stadium.

Many of the fans wore masks, which makes cheering for the home squad a little more difficult than in past years. Neither the home side or the Frankfort Falcons side were boisterous or rowdy, but with the limited-attendance policies in place for sporting events, only immediate family members of Trojan athletes were allowed. The sparse sounds of cheering were punctuated with the loud “clang” of a cowbell or 2, rang by Hampshire parents.

The bright green of Hampshire was splashed all around the stands, with some fans wearing official HHS Trojan masks and gaiters.

“There’s definitely a new definition to the word ‘normal,’” HHS principal Mike Dufrene admitted, wearing his own green HHS mask. “It’s great to see the students out there, but it’s hard to tell emotions with masks. Are they excited? Are they happy to be here?”

With so much changing around athletics and academics, there was an element of relief to see a few familiar mainstays of Friday night lights at Hampshire: an energetic cheer squad, a passionate marching band and families who came from all over the county to support their kids.

Friday night was also senior night for fall sports, a definite shift from the last-home-game-of-the-season senior nights of pre-pandemic Hampshire athletics. Senior football players, cheerleaders and band members lined up with their families to walk across the new Rannells Field.

“It’s a little different for sure, having senior night on the 1st game of the year,” said Dufrene with a laugh.

With some families perched on the hill above Rannells Field, some making themselves at home in the stands and all of them rooting for the Green and White, it was comforting to see glimpses of normalcy under the lights on the field Friday night.


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Theft ring crackdown expanded

Attempted murder, beatings, burglaries draw indictments

ROMNEY — Along with 19 drug indictments, the September grand jury handed up charges for some brutal crimes of violence and an unusual fencing operation.

The fencing operation is an upgrade of an indictment handed up in January, the last time the grand jury met. Eight months ago, Anthony Anderson Kinzer and Morgan Corrine Nicholls were indicted jointly on 8 felony counts of bringing stolen property into the state.

This time around, Kinzer, 46, and Nicholls, 27, were reindicted along with 54-year-old Robert Alfred Kinzer and 53-year-old Constance Marie Kinzer on 17 counts — 8 of bringing stolen property into West Virginia, 8 more of transferring those items to others and 1 of conspiracy.

Among the items: a 2014 Alhambra utility trailer valued at $3,000; a 2017 Can-Am Maverick UTV valued at $19,000; a 2018 Kawasaki dirt bike valued at $5,000; a 2016 Toro 52-inch zero-turn mower valued at $5,000; a 2018 Carry-on aluminum trailer valued at $3,000; a 2016 John Deere gator valued at $2,500; a 2019 Keystone Premier camping trailer valued at $30,000; and black box utility trailer with the VIN removed, valued at $2,000.

Crimes of violence

• Michael Frank Roberts and Amanda Perl Hensley, both 34, were charged jointly with attempted murder and conspiracy.

Authorities said the pair attacked Laura Norris on June 18.

• A burglary and beating on May 28 or 29 led to 3 men being indicted together on 5 charges.

Kolby Allen Haines, 27, Ceferino Jose Delgado, 35, and Nicholas Cody Kesner, 25, are charged with burglary, 2 counts of malicious wounding, battery and 2 counts of conspiracy.

Authorities say the trio broke into a property in Shanks. There, they say, Kesner held a man down while Haines hit him in the head with a bat and Delgado stabbed him repeatedly. Kesner’s battery charge is a misdemeanor.

• Joshua Paul Bachor, 38, was charged with strangulation and 2 misdemeanor counts, domestic battery and domestic assault. Authorities say that on Feb. 27 he choked his partner with his bare hands, punched her in the face and threatened to kill her.

• A confrontation on Feb. 18 has indicted William Charles Ford Jr., 52, with 2 felony and 2 misdemeanor counts.

Authorities say he cut his dog’s right flank; busted the windows, headlights and hood of his car; kicked in the door of a relative’s residence; and refused to follow an officer’s instructions to the point that police used a taser to stop him.

He is charged with felony cruelty to animals and destruction of property and misdemeanor obstructing and destruction of property.

• Wes Allen Barrett, 29, is charged with 2 counts of malicious assault. Authorities say that on July 19, Barrett stabbed a man in the chest and in his leg.

• David Bryon Dubs, 50, faces charges of strangulation and malicious assault. Police say he choked and stabbed a woman on Aug. 19, 2019.

• James Eugene Lewis, 49, was charged with wanton endangerment and the misdemeanor counts of domestic battery and domestic assault. The indictment says that on Dec. 30 last year, he fired a Savage .243-caliber rifle at a woman, punched her in the face, confronted her with a knife and threatened to kill her.

Property crimes

• Jason Daniel Wolford, 35, and Adriana Elaine Flanary, 28, were indicted together on charges of grand larceny and conspiracy.

The indictment says that on July 21 the pair stole a 2017 Chrysler Pacific minivan. Reports from the time said they offered to help the owner unload her van of donations to Helping Hands before driving off in it and wrecking it on River Road just into Hardy County.

• Burglaries in February and April have led to separate indictments against Rusty Joe Riley II. The April cases also has Angel Marie Judy charged jointly with him.

Authorities say Riley 34, and Judy, 30, burgled 2 properties off Middle Ridge Road west of Romney on April 23. The 1st incident led to breaking-and-entering, conspiracy and trespassing charges against the pair. The 2nd led to burglary, conspiracy and trespassing charges.

Riley was charged separately with a count of burglary and petit larceny, a misdemeanor, a robbery on Charlevoix Place in Romney on Feb. 28.

• Angel Lynn McCoy, 35, was charged with a count each of forging and uttering. Forging is signing another person’s name and uttering is the attempt to pass off the forged document.

The charging document says that on Valentine’s Day McCoy signed a $796.42 check allegedly drawn on the Target Winchester store over to Omps Grocery. 

• Dustin James Gordon is charged with grand larceny and breaking and entering. The charges say he broke into a detached garage in Sunrise Summit and took a Suzuki Ozark FTI 250 4-wheeler.

• Brian Lee Ark is charged with fraudulent use of an access device. Authorities say he used another man’s debit card to get $270 cash at the Romney Sheetz on Dec. 21, 2018.

Other charges

• A traffic stop for speeding led to a host of charges against Shawn Ronald Sieben, 43, on May 1. Authorities say he was doing 70 in a 55 zone when they stopped him. Sieben then told officers he had COVID-19 (untrue) and refused to stay 6 feet away from officers.

He is charged with speeding, driving while his license is suspended, terroristic threats for the COVID claim, obstructing an officer and providing false information to an officer. Only the terrorism charge is a felony; the other 4 are misdemeanors.

• Kevin Hayes Knight, 27, was charged with a count of possessing sexually explicit material with minors. The indictment says that at the turn of the year he had 141 videos and photos of child porn.

• David Wayne Hayes, 50; Christopher Richard Arnold, 30; and Justin Scott Buckley, 29; were each charged with failing to update their sex offender registry. The indictments say Hayes didn’t perform his annual check-in last November; Arnold didn’t register a tablet that had Facebook and other apps on it; and Buckley failed to register an email address in March.


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1st day of school sees smooth sailing at HHS

SUNRISE SUMMIT — School might be back in session, but it’s hardly business as usual in Hampshire County, as Tuesday marked the official “1st day of school,” COVID-style.

With the staggered opening for the 1st week, schools are welcoming their students back in waves. Tuesday saw 12th, 8th, 5th and 2nd grades return to brick-and-mortar buildings, while everyone else logged into Schoology to start their semester.

Hampshire High School principal Mike Dufrene said the return has gone smoothly on Sunrise Summit so far, with only small issues with scheduling and technology being a hitch in what has otherwise been smooth sailing.

The high school has 866 students total, and about 600 of those students are taking their classes in-person this fall.

“There’s about 150 seniors. That’s about 75 percent,” Dufrene explained Tuesday. “I met with them all this morning, and they were all very respectful, and we talked about some senior privileges.”

One of the privileges, he explained, was once the new picnic tables arrived, seniors could sit out in the courtyard as opposed to the current creative pandemic-era social-distance lunchtime solution: turning the library into a lunchroom.

Tables were set up in the library with plenty of space between each, and only a few chairs at each table.

“This seats 60 to 70 people,” Dufrene said. “There’s only going to be probably 40 in here today.”

One of the rooms in the library, which has been used previously as a storage area, has been converted into more of a teacher hub, with a fridge, a drink machine and their mailboxes. A standalone thermometer sits outside the door, waiting to scan faculty upon entry.

Senior Lainee Selan was quick to pipe up about how she felt about her 1st day back and the new block scheduling, saying, “I love it, and I think 4 classes is definitely better than 8.”

Seniors Laurel Keister and Gracie Fields chipped in, saying that the Schoology platform was a little tough to manage.

“I think it is confusing, but I think people will get the hang of it soon,” Fields added.

Dufrene also explained the lunch process at the high school: with 4 new lunch blocks thanks to block schedule, students can grab their lunch in the cafeteria and head to designated eating areas, namely, the library or the senior courtyard.

“We just have to do the best we can do,” he said. “That’s all we can do.”

The school board has announced their sponsorship of the extension of the federally funded Summer Food Service Program, meaning that for folks whose students aren’t participating in in-person learning, there is still an opportunity to receive free meals.

Curbside pickup is open Monday through Friday to all children who would like to participate. Meals will be served daily at the following sites starting Tuesday, Sept. 8 and running through Dec. 31:

  • Augusta Elementary — Curbside pickup 12:30-1:30 p.m.
  • Capon Bridge Elementary — Curbside pickup 10-10:30 a.m.
  • Capon Bridge Middle School — Curbside pickup 10-10:30 a.m.
  • Romney Elementary School — Curbside pickup 10:15-10:40 a.m.
  • Romney Middle School — Curbside pickup 10-10:30 a.m.
  • Hampshire High School — Curbside pickup 10-10:45 a.m.
  • Slanesville Elementary — Curbside pickup 10:05-10:50 a.m.
  • John J. Cornwell Elementary — Curbside pickup 10:05-10:50 a.m.
  • Springfield Green Spring Elementary — Curbside pickup 10:05-10:50 a.m.

These pickup sites will be closed on the following dates:

  • Nov. 3, 2020
  • Nov. 11, 2020
  • Nov.23-27, 2020
  • Dec. 24-31, 2020

For more information about this Summer Food Service Program, reach out to Amy Haines at 304-822-3528.

Wednesday, Sept. 9 will see 11th, 10th, 7th, 4th and 1st grade returning, while on Thursday, the schools will welcome back 9th, 6th, 3rd grades and kindergarten. All in-person students will be back in action once Friday, Sept. 11 rolls around, and the schedule will resume as normal.

The “new” normal, that is.