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West Virginia court briefs

December 16, 2008

Man waives hearing in animal cruelty case



MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A 34-year-old man accused of animal cruelty after authorities on Nov. 12 found a pit bull chained in the attic of a Martinsburg home with open wounds and ribs showing waived his right to a preliminary hearing Tuesday in Berkeley County Magistrate Court.

Randall Craig Siford Jr. could be released from Eastern Regional Jail if his bond is reinstated, Berkeley County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Saunders said Tuesday.

After being released on a $10,000 bond last month, Siford failed to appear for a scheduled preliminary hearing and was put in jail and his bond was revoked, records show.

Since being rescued from 252 E. Burke St., the dog has received medical care and county animal control officials have said it was recovering.

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The state's felony animal cruelty case against co-defendant Breshannon Leslie Deveraux, 33, of 252 E. Burke St., is pending in magistrate court.

Man pleads in sex assault case



MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A 33-year-old man accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl in 2006 was ordered to serve three years of probation in place of a one-year jail sentence as part of a binding plea agreement.

Michael Neil Engle of 177 Leviticus Drive, Bunker Hill, W.Va., entered a no-contest plea to one misdemeanor count of battery, a lesser offense.

Engle initially was charged with two felony counts of third-degree sexual assault.

The girl's father forgave Engle in court Monday.

A letter read into the court record that was written by the victim indicated she was blackmailed into having sex with Engle, who through his attorney, waived his right to give a statement about the proceeding.

"This is an extreme piece of good fortune for you," 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge David H. Sanders told Engle.

Engle's attorney, Kevin D. Mills, told the court his client did not wish to appeal the case.

-- Matthew Umstead

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