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Alford plea entered in disturbance

December 14, 2005|by PEPPER BALLARD

A former Hancock man entered an Alford plea Tuesday to disorderly conduct in connection with causing a disturbance at Washington County Courthouse in April.

Berkeley Springs, W.Va., resident David Leroy Creek Sr., 47, whose address at the time of his arrest was 109 E. Main St. in Hancock, entered the plea before Circuit Judge Frederick C. Wright III, who ordered Creek to serve three years of probation.

Wright suspended a 60-day jail sentence, the maximum sentence for a conviction on the charge.

In making an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges the state has sufficient evidence to gain a conviction.

Washington County Deputy State's Attorney Steven Kessell said that on April 14, Creek was in Court 2 at about 3 p.m. for a hearing and "became emotional, began crying" at the conclusion of the hearing.

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Kessell said Creek was told by Sgt. Dennis Mummert and Deputy 1st Class Michael Gladhill to leave the courtroom, but "he wouldn't leave."

When the deputies tried to remove him, "Creek became somewhat verbal and combative with them," Kessell said. Kessell said Creek's combativeness continued into the hallway of the courthouse.

Creek's attorney, Wiley Rutledge, said Creek "was clearly emotional" the day of the hearing. "He was just so consumed with his emotions that he didn't hear ... He didn't intend to create a disturbance."

Creek apologized for his actions in the courtroom that day.

"I'm not a troublemaker," he said.

Wright, who presided over Creek's April 14 hearing, said he remembers part of the incident.

"Your reactions were such that you weren't going to hear anything I was going to say," Wright told him. "What you were doing was disrespectful to the court, disrespectful to anyone in the courtroom and was a clear disturbance of the peace."

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