Gregory Kelly Ellison, charged with three felony counts of probation violation. After being convicted on two counts of felony breaking and entering on Jan. 7, 2010, Ellison was placed on probation.
Probation Officer Ken Bumgarner testified that Ellison tested positive for opiates twice, was behind on paying his court costs, and was charged on April 9, 2011 with operating a vehicle with a revoked license. He had also failed to complete his 50 hours of community service.
Defense council Garland Baker claimed that none of the violations were willful. He provided evidence that Ellison was current on all fines, having paid $1,915 by his court appearance. Baker went on to state that the reason Ellison had not paid his court costs in a timely manner was because Ellison had recently opened an auto-body and mechanics business in March 2011, an enterprise he had previously run for 15 years.
At the time of his failed drug test, Ellison had an active prescription for Hydrocodone, prescribed by Dr. Brett Summey, a local dentist, which Baker cited as the reason for failing the drug test. Baker also said that there were paper work inconsistencies that led Ellison to believe he did not have to complete his 50 hours of community service.
Judge Lindsay Davis continued Ellison’s probation with the exception that Ellison must complete his 50 hours of community service within 120 days, and must provide current drug prescriptions to probation officers at six month intervals.
Edward John Tovar, Jr., charged with four counts of indecent liberties with a child. Tovar’s defense pled “no contest” (the court treats this as guilty whether or not you are in fact guilty) in exchange for dismissal of the indecent liberties with a child and received two active, consecutive 60 day sentences. Tovar will receive no counseling or rehabilitation.
The 6-year-old victim in the case claimed that Tovar, the boyfriend of the victim’s babysitter, had touched her inappropriately. As a result, her mother noticed a change in the victim’s behavior, finding her withdrawn and depressed to the “point of saying she wished she were dead.”
In interviews with police, the victim showed the manner in which she claims Tovar touched her. Authorities seized Tovar’s computer and found adult pornography.
The 41- year-old college-educated Tovar has no criminal history, and two young daughters of his own. In a statement given by his defense council, Tovar said, “He is sorry for any misunderstanding that has taken place.”
Leocaido Gomez Vargas, charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. Vargas pled guilty to the charges and will serve 23-37 months in the custody of the N.C. Department of Corrections. The court also recommended Vargas be treated in an alcohol rehabilitation and treatment program.
On Nov. 24, 2010, the Ashe County Sheriff’s Department responded to an alleged stabbing on Tahoe Drive. There officers found the victim, 21-year-old Daniel Puerta, collapsed on the ground. The victim was taken to Ashe Memorial Hospital, stabilized, and sent to Baptist Hospital. Vargas, the alleged assailant, was later taken into custody by the ACSO.
Five witnesses at the scene say an altercation had taken place between Vargas and Puerta while the men had been drinking. Witnesses say the two had never met previously, and Vargas became hostile when Puerta told him he was from the Federal District. Vargas was heard to say he, “didn’t like anyone from the Federal District.” He then began to curse and stabbed Puerta four times in the abdomen.
The prosecution said that Puerta was able to secure emergency Medicaid, and that all his medical bills were paid.
The 36-year-old Vargas, who has been in the United States for at least 13 years, has an immigration hold placed on him by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The conditions of the immigration hold mean Vargas will face deportation at some point in the future.
Misty Tenille Sullivan, charged with sell/deliver Schedule II controlled substance and possession with intent to sell and distribute a Schedule II controlled substance. Charges carry a maximum 83 month sentence. Sullivan arranged a plea agreement with the state that will see her receive some form of probation and pay a $750 fine.
At press time, notable cases that have not been tried or continued include:
Joseph A. Boccardy of Creston, charged in 2010 with maintaining a vehicle and dwelling place for keeping and selling marijuana, manufacturing marijuana, processing with intent to sell and deliver marijuana, and felony possession, and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Alvious Fred “Jack” Church of West Jefferson, charged with murder in February 2004 after law enforcement officers found his wife, Pauline Blevins Church, 66, shot to death in the Church residence. Sheriff James Williams said Church, age 65 at the time, has been incarcerated in a mental hospital since the crime, and every year since has appeared in court and been determined to be a danger to society and incompetent to stand trial.
Ray Dean Combs of West Jefferson, arrested in May 2010 and charged with five counts of first degree rape of a child under the age of 13 - who authorities say is the daughter of a woman that he was dating - and three counts of sexual offense.
Joe Weddington, charged with six counts of embezzlement. Weddington was arrested Feb. 16, 2011 by the Ashe County Sheriff’s Department and charged with six counts of embezzlement. The charges were a result of $15,406.55 that Weddington allegedly converted to his own use belonging to Appalachian Mint, LLC. The crime allegedly occurred over a time period between Nov. 6, 2009, and Oct. 17, 2010. He had his first appearance in court on March 10. Case is continued until Oct. 3.
Other cases include that have been continued include:
Robert Jerome Cobb, charged with probation violation and felonious probation violation out of county. A probation officer stated that Cobb has not been seen since March 14.
Lisa D. Davis, charged with 10 counts of felony probation violation. Continued until Sept. 6.
Harold Dean Gilley, charged with 12 counts of trafficking opium/heroin. Continued until Oct. 3.
Sarah Huskins, charged with felony probation violation out of county. Continued until Oct. 3.
Tommy Lee Osborne, fail to report change of address and habitual felon. Continued until March 2012 due to health problems.
Kristal Nicol Phillips, felony probation violation, and misdemeanor larceny. Probation officer last had contact with Phillips in March.
Michael Lee Reed, charged with obtaining property by false pretense. Continued until Oct. 3.
Jared Allen Turnmire, charged with H/I felony probation violation. Continued until Sept. 6.