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Berkeley County man found guilty of sexual offenses

December 18, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A jury on Thursday found a 37-year-old Martinsburg man guilty of 14 counts of felony sexual offenses involving two young girls after more than three hours of deliberating in Berkeley County Circuit Court.

John Allen Nicholson, 37, appeared to show little, if any, emotion as the jury verdict was read aloud by a deputy circuit clerk.

Nicholson was found not guilty of 12 felony sex offenses, which were part of a 26-count indictment returned by a grand jury in May 2009, according to court records.

A post-trial motions hearing was scheduled for Feb. 11 by presiding 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Gina M. Groh, who indicated Nicholson may also be sentenced that day.

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After Groh thanked the jury for their service and excused them, the judge ordered Nicholson be remanded to the custody of Eastern Regional Jail because he was convicted of a crime of violence.

The defendant faces a possible sentence of 113 to 315 years in prison, Berkeley County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Gregory K. Jones said after the three-day trial ended. Nicholson was represented by Nicholas Colvin.

One of the victims told police she was sexually assaulted by the defendant two days before she turned 13 in January 2009 after he threatened to hurt her, according to court records.

The other victim was 11 years-old when she was sexually assaulted in June 2008, according to Jones.

The case was investigated by Berkeley County Sheriff's Department deputies Lt. Gary Harmison, Deputy Cory Welcome, and Sgt. Stephen Vigh.

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