On Monday, the first criminal superior court session of 2012 at Ashe County Courthouse, with the Honorable Judge Andrew Cromer presiding, heard the following cases:
• Anthony Dale Barker, charged with H/I felony probation violation, asked Cromer to activate his sentence. Barker told the judge his probation violation had occurred as he tried to aid his mother in finding a place to live. Barker asked for activation of his sentence so he could serve his remaining eight month sentence, and could start fresh correcting his life after the completion of his active sentence.
• James Fred Benson, charged with trafficking opium or heroin, and conspiring to traffic opium/heroin pleaded guilty to the charges. Benson told the judge that his prescription medication, allegedly sold to undercover an undercover narcotics agent with the Ashe County Sheriffs Office in November, 2010, “Had my name on it. If it walks out of my house and is sold, I’m guilty, as I understand it.”
District Attorney Tom Horner told the judge that Benson had provided narcotics to four individuals, and that 28 grams of oxycodone had been sold to an undercover narcotics agent.
Benson told the judge he suffered from multiple medical conditions, and takes several prescriptions. Benson’s record showed no other convictions over the past 30 years. His attorney asked for probation to continue his medical treatments. Benson received a 36 month suspended sentence, supervised probation, an order to pay court costs of $1,350, and must abide by all probation restrictions.
• Elizabeth Hall, 27, of West Jefferson, was arrested following a traffic stop on July 20, 2011. According to Horner, the arresting officer reported that Hall had failed to maintain lane control, and said Hall was noticeably impaired, but did not smell of alcohol. A blood sample taken from Hall showed that she had controlled substances in her system, though the limits of the blood test could not quantify the amount of the impairing substance in her body. The arresting officer also found a glass smoking pipe, digital scales, film canisters used to store contraband, controlled substances which Hall did not have a prescription for, a small amount of marijuana and methamphetamine, and opiate based pills.
Hall had no other prior convictions, a safe driving record, and had submitted to her drug assessment, according to her attorney. Since her arrest, Hall has “made a good turnaround,” and now lives with her mother and is actively involved in Mount Paddy Church.
Hall faced a maximum of 247 months with the N.C. Department of Correction, but pleaded guilty as part of a plea arrangement that consolidated all charges into three. Hall received 36 months unsupervised probation, 100 hours of community service that must be completed within six months, an order to pay court costs for three cases, a fine of $500, and a restitution fee of $1,200. She also surrendered her drivers license, and must continue with her drug treatement plan.
• Chad Weddle, pleaded no contest to charges of felony breaking and entering, larceny after break/enter, and being a habitual felon, as part of a plea arrangment.
Weddle was arrested for felony breaking and entering in November, 2009, after a reported break in at the Dollar Mart in Jefferson. According to Assistant District Attorney Stacy Adams, the store’s manager had reported a side window had been broken, and missing merchandise. Jefferson Police Chief David Neaves arrested another individual, David Larson, who said he and Weddle had broken into the Dollar Mart. The pair had been drinking when the decision was made to rob the store, according to court records.
Weddle was released on bond and, in May 2010, was arrested for a break-in at the Piney Creek General Store. Shortly after the reported break in, an Alleghany County law enforcement officer stopped Weddle in his vehicle in the Piney Creek area, saw a large cut on Weddle’s arm, and noticed the smell of alcohol on Weddle. Weddle later admitted to the break in.
Weddle’s attorney told the judge that Weddle is a, “hard worker and a good person when not on drugs and alcohol,” and wants help for his addiction problems. Weddle admitted to the Alleghany break in, but not the break in at the Dollar Mart in Jefferson.
Weddle, who was also convicted of felony breaking and entering in 1996, felony larceny in 1997, and felony breaking and entering in 2004, received an active sentence of 121-155 months in the N.C. DOC, and received credit for 664 days he had been in custody. He was also ordered to take an immediate assessment and become a resident of the Evergreen Program. If he successfully completes the program, Cromer will recommend him for work release.
At press time Wednesday, the following cases had been continued until the July 9 Superior Court session.
• Benajamin Blevins, driving while impaired. Case continued until July 9 session.
• Darren Joseph Capote, charged with three counts of securities fraud/violation. Issues that came up during the discovery process forced the case to be continued to an unspecified date.
• Kellie Denise Dolinger, driving while impaired, driving with license revoked. Continued until July 9.
• Michael Dennis Little, seven counts of abuse disable/elderly with injury, and possession of marijuana up to 1/2 oz. Continued until July 9 session
• Raymond Keith Powers, driving with license revoked, four counts of worthless check simple, five counts of trafficking, opium or heroin, two counts of sell/deliver schedule III controlled substance, possession with intent to manufacture, sell, distribute schedule III controlled substance. Continued until July 9 session.
• Joe Weddington, six counts of embezzlement. Continued until July 9 session.
• Tim Andrew Evans, charged with conspiring to sell/deliver cocaine, and being a habitual felon. Evans was not present during Monday morning’s docket call. A warrant was issued for his arrest. Bond set at $50,000 secured.