W.Va. court briefs

September 11, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

Fielder trial moves ahead

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A West Virginia University neurologist has been retained to review the medical records of a 58-year-old man accused in the killing last year of his ex-wife, Debra A. Fielder.

Indicted in February on one count of first-degree murder, Stephen R. Fielder of 9280 Winchester Ave. in Bunker Hill, W.Va., is accused of dumping his ex-wife's dismembered body in Back Creek sometime after she was last seen alive Aug. 11, 2006.

In a brief hearing Monday, defense attorney B. Craig Manford told presiding 23rd Judicial Circuit judge David H. Sanders that he might ask the state to pay for a CT scan or an MRI for his client, who he previously said suffered a series of strokes and might not have been capable of premeditated murder.

Manford said he expected to receive the medical opinion of Marc Haut, who is listed as WVU's director of neuropsychological services in Morgantown, W.Va., within the next couple weeks.


Fielder's trial is set to begin Nov. 6.

Debra Fielder's remains were found in luggage that was found Aug. 20, 2006, by two people fishing the creek near the intersection of Buck Hill Road and Tuscarora Pike, east of the Shanghai, W.Va., police have said.

Authorities have said they have surveillance tape of Stephen Fielder buying the luggage Aug. 14, 2006, at the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Martinsburg.

Request for taxpayer-funded counsel rejected by magistrate

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A former Martinsburg Correctional Center officer charged with counterfeiting late last month was told Monday by Berkeley County Magistrate Jo Ann Overington that he made too much money to qualify for taxpayer-funded legal counsel.

No longer employed and incarcerated since Aug. 31, Brian Lee Sine, 36, of Martinsburg, reapplied for a court-appointed attorney before he was returned to Eastern Regional Jail on a $100,000 bond.

Sine, 36, and Joshua Lee Beck, 22, also of Martinsburg, have both been charged with three felony counts of counterfeiting and one felony of conspiracy to counterfeit, according to warrants filed with the court by West Virginia State Police Trooper J.M. Walker.

Beck was able to post bail hours after he was arrested and jailed on a $40,000 bond. He also applied for a court-appointed attorney and is expected to appear before Magistrate Sandra L. Miller for a preliminary hearing Thursday at 1:45 p.m., court records show.

In their applications for legal counsel, the men and former roommates both said their gross monthly income was $1,844. Sine also listed $106 in monthly benefits and $870 in monthly expenses, according to the application.

According to the West Virginia State Auditor's Office, Sine's "total compensation" as a state employee for the calendar year 2006 was $8,892.41. Beck, who has been placed on administrative leave, was paid $3,124.83 last year.

A sporting goods-store employee and owner told police that on Aug. 17 Sine handed him five $100 bills and Beck attempted to utter three $100 bills to pay an account, police have said.

First trials against ghost hunter on schedule

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - One of two trials for the founder of the West Virginia Society of Ghost Hunters, who has been accused of unauthorized practice of medicine and counseling, could be rescheduled again because of a murder trial that begins today.

Arrested in September 2006, Susan R. Crites, of 208 Ruffed Grouse Lane in Berkeley County, also was indicted on one felony count of delivery of a controlled substance. She is expected to be tried separately for that charge.

Police have said Crites gave medication to a woman for what was determined to be a cancerous growth, according to court records. Another woman told police that Crites had her gargle with Alka Seltzer and Vitamin B for a strep throat diagnosis.

On Monday, 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Gray Silver III nixed a pretrial hearing after defense attorney Heidi J. Myers was unable to attend.

Myers later said she was delayed by other proceedings before other judicial circuit judges in the Tri-County district, but was prepared to move ahead with the trial, which is slated to begin Sept. 18. A teleconference hearing is expected to be held this week.

Prosecuting Attorney Pamela J. Games-Neely told Silver she felt comfortable going forward, but cautioned that the double-homicide trial for Wade Painter was expected to continue into next week.

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