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Judge denies motion to try Crites in magistrate court

March 03, 2007|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A 23rd Judicial Circuit judge presiding Friday in Berkeley County denied a defense attorney's motion to have nine counts of an indictment against the founder of the West Virginia Society of Ghost Hunters tried in magistrate court.

Gray Silver III sided with Berkeley County Prosecutor Pamela Games-Neely, who argued that a Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia decision dictated that the counts against Susan R. Crites, 56, of 208 Ruffed Grouse Lane in Hedgesville, W.Va., remain in circuit court because the misdemeanors never were charged in magistrate court.

Silver also noted in his decision that in the interest of "judicial economy," the case should be more efficiently handled in his trial court.

Arrested in September 2006 on a felony count of delivery of a controlled substance, Crites also was indicted in October on misdemeanor counts of unauthorized practice of medicine and unauthorized counseling without a license.

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Crites was reindicted in February on the felony charge of delivery of a controlled substance after Games-Neely agreed with defense attorney Heidi J. Myers that the initial wording of the original true bill was flawed. It was dismissed without prejudice, and now Crites is expected to be arraigned on the revised indictment Monday, according to records.

Arrested in September 2006, police were told that Crites treated two women, and one victim said Crites gave her medication for what later was determined to be a cancerous growth, according to records. Another woman told police Crites had her gargle with Alka-Seltzer and Vitamin B for a strep throat diagnosis, according to records.

Aside from the ruling, Silver also set a new trial date of March 29 for the case at the request of Games-Neely, who said she was expected to testify before a federal grand jury.

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