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Arrests made in Westover drug investigation

WESTOVER, W.Va. — A suspicious vehicle report at a local motel in Westover led police to a large quantity of drugs and Pennsylvania man wanted in Monongalia County.

Westover Police Chief Joe Adams said officers made contact with John Maraney, 56, of Carmichael, Pennsylvania, two other men and a woman near a black passenger car.

“The people were acting “hanky” so to speak, so they ran the criminal history and found Mr. Maraney was in NCIC as wanted,” Adams said.

Police determined Maraney was wanted for malicious assault in Monongalia County and at that point conducted a search of the vehicle.

“The officers searched the car and we found the 2.8 ounces of meth, some suspected fentanyl, marijuana and another white substance,” Adams said.

Adams encourages the public to report things that look “out of place” to police. the most insignificant thing or incident could be the one piece of the investigative puzzle police need to make an arrest or seek a warrant.

“It seems like we have about one of these a month anymore,” Adams said. “We hope the word gets out to not deal drugs in Westover.”

Maraney has been arraigned and bond has been set at $75,000.

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McDowell County jury hands down guilty verdict for hit-and-run suspect

WELCH, W.Va. — A McDowell County jury has found a woman guilty on multiple counts related to a fatal hit-and-run.

Angel Alberta Estep faced charges for the 2020 incident, in which a two-year-old child died a day following the hit-and-run.

The jury on Thursday found Estep guilty of leaving the scene of an accident causing death — a felony charge — as well as failure to render aid and failure to report.

Estep faces a maximum of five years in prison for the felony conviction. Court proceedings at the McDowell County Courthouse will resume June 9.

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Edwards leads University to Class AAA team track title

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Paced by one of the nation’s elite high school distance runners, University High School brought a state championship trophy back to Bakers Ridge Friday afternoon. The Hawks won three events Thursday and three more Friday to score 93 points, good enough to best Jefferson by five points in the Class AAA team competition.

Oregon signee Josh Edwards backed up his 3200 meter title yesterday with wins in the 1600 meters and the 800 meters on Friday. The Hawks also won the 4×800 meter relay and their third place finish in the 4×400 relay secured the title. UHS built a sizable lead after day one, thanks to field event victories from Daminn Cunningham in the long jump and Colin McBee in the discus.

“It was awesome,” said University head coach Ed Fronapfel. “We have been in this position before with great distance guys. But we would get nothing else. When you are getting great support from the field events — we got a point from shot put, discus won and long jump won.”

In his final individual race at UHS, Edwards made up a deficit in the final 100 meters to win the 800 meter run. The victory allowed him to share individual high point honors.

“It is an unmatched feeling,” Edwards said. “Going out and winning 1600 and 3200 is obviously great but when you are out there and it is the final moments of the race and it can be anyone’s, and you are the one taking it, that’s a feeling that will never leave you.”

Jefferson checked in with 88 points. 20 of their points were earned in relay victories Friday in the 4×100 relay and the 4×200 relay.

Edwards shares individual high point honors with Huntington senior Noah Waynick. On the meet’s final day, Waynick earned three victories in the 300 meter hurdles, the 110 meter high hurdles and he also cleared 6 feet, 4 inches to win the high jump.

Wheeling Park sophomore Jerrae Hawkins is a double-winner in the sprint events. He just missed out on a state meet record in the 100 meters. His winning time was 10.54 seconds. Hawkins also won the 200 meters.

Other individual event winners included Cabell Midland’s Michael Lunsford. He had the best throw in the shot put at 52 feet, 6 inches. Musselman won the shuttle hurdle relay and Buckhannon-Upshur put a wrap on the competition by winning the 4×400 meter relay.

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Southern WV law enforcement officials honored in ceremony by U.S. Attorney’s office

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — More than 60 law enforcement professionals from across Southern West Virginia were honored Friday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

United States Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia Will Thompson presented the awards during the 2022 Law Enforcement Awards Ceremony at the Robert C. Byrd U.S. Courthouse in Charleston.

Federal, state, and local law enforcement officers were recognized for their contributions to major investigations and cases involving drugs, violent crime, civil rights, child exploitation, and white collar crime.

“Some of the work occurred under my watch, some of the work occurred prior to me taking the position. Any time I can recognize people for the hard work they do in achieving justice I feel satisfied,” Thompson told MetroNews.

The awards ceremony was the first for Thompson in his role, as he took an oath of office in 2021. The 2020 and 2021 ceremony was canceled due to COVID-19.

Thompson also presented awards honoring this year’s outstanding law enforcement officers, drug and violent crime task force, collaborative law enforcement agency, and community partner.

This year’s ceremony is in conjunction with National Police Week, held to remember and honor the service and sacrifices of law enforcement officers.

“They do a lot of work that is not often seen by the public. Even in a trail, maybe only two or three law enforcement partners might testify in it. There might be 10 to 15 and 20 law enforcement officers that actually work the case,” Thompson said of honoring so many people.

Those honored on Friday include:

Category: Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force

Operation Shutdown Corner (U.S. vs. Jones, 5:19-cr-227):

Special Agent Jennifer King, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Forensic Examiner Melinda Cash, FBI

Staff Operations Specialist Rose Chestnut, FBI

Intelligence Analyst Sarah Cole, FBI

Resident Agent in Charge David Bullard, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Special Agent Rob DiDomenico, U.S. Postal Inspection Service

Sergeant Rob Richards, West Virginia State Police – Bureau of Criminal Investigation

Detective David Snuffer, Beckley Police Department

Detective Will Reynolds, Beckley Police Department

Sergeant Brian Acord, Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department

Detective Ray Hall, Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department

Operation Second Wave (includes U.S. vs. Terrell, 2:20-cr-154):

Special Agent Jennifer King, FBI

Special Agent Michael McDonald, FBI

Special Agent Georgia Marshall, FBI

Special Agent John Reese, FBI

Special Agent Jarred Shockey, FBI

Staff Operations Specialist Rose Chestnut, FBI

Forensic Examiner Melinda Cash, FBI

Forensic Accountant Tammie Blundon, FBI

Resident Agent in Charge David Bullard, ATF

Special Agent Ben Henrich, Drug Enforcement Administration

Postal Inspector Josh Mehall, U.S. Postal Inspection Service

Special Agent Todd Phillips, U.S. Postal Service-Office of Inspector General

Sergeant Curtis Adkins, West Virginia State Police-BCI

Detective Owen Morris, Charleston Police Department

Detective Brian Middleton, Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department

Detective Jon Vernon, Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department

Deputy Steve Martin, Putnam County Sheriff’s Department

 

Category: Project Safe Neighborhoods

U.S. vs. Boone (3:21-cr-101):

Detective Stephen Maniskas, Huntington Police Department

Lieutenant Ryan Bentley, Huntington Police Department

Sergeant Ronnie Lusk, Huntington Police Department

PFC Jordan McClellan, Huntington Police Department

PFC Bradley Koeppen, Huntington Police Department

Patrolman Ryan Donoho, Huntington Police Department

Patrolman Sean Brinegar, Huntington Police Department

Patrolman Hun Tak, Huntington Police Department

Category: Drug & Violent Crime

U.S. vs. Fields (2:20-cr-00128):

Officer William Keith McGraw, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Police

Category: Project Safe Childhood

U.S. vs. Humphrey (5:21-cr-5):

Special Agent Phil Gunther, FBI

Special Agent James Harrison, FBI

Forensic Examiner Melinda Cash, FBI

Detective Wayne Long, Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department

Detective E. E. Simon, Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department

Detective C.D. Suman, Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department

Detective R. A. Robinson, Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department

Detective R. S. Queen, Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department

Captain L. D. Lilly, Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department

Sergeant Steven A. Sommers, Mercer County Sheriff’s Department

Detective Jarred Payne, Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department

FBI Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force:

Supervisory Special Agent Tony Rausa, FBI

Special Agent Jared Jankowski, FBI (Task Force Coordinator)

Special Agent Genevieve Baushke, FBI (Task Force Coordinator)

Category: Civil Rights

U.S. vs. Maynard (2:21-cr-65):

Special Agent James F. Lafferty II, FBI

Special Agent Greg Lipari, FBI

Sergeant Andrew Shingler, West Virginia State Police–BCI

Category: White Collar Crime

U.S. vs Vladimirov (2:20-cr-54):

Special Agent Devon Selbee, U.S. Secret Service

Special Agent Terry Hedrick, U.S. Secret Service

Resident Agent in Charge Wade Fleming, U.S. Secret Service

Detective Jeremy Thompson, South Charleston Police Department

U.S. vs. Pinson (2:19-cr-250):

Postal Inspector Seth Summers, U.S. Postal Inspection Service

Special Agent J.T. Waggy, FBI

Special Agent Cedric Jefferson, FBI

Special Agent Jack Remaley, FBI (retired)

First Sergeant J. M. “Mike” Parde, West Virginia State Police-BCI

Special Agent Bruce Adkins, National Insurance Crime Bureau

Intelligence Analyst Rhonda Edwards, West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner

U.S. vs. Dudding (3:22-cr-1):

Special Agent Devon Selbee, U.S. Secret Service

Special Agent Terry Hedrick, U.S. Secret Service

Detective Jeremy Thompson, South Charleston Police Department

Special Agent Meg Faden, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-Office of Inspector General

U.S. vs. McLaughlin (2:20-cr-182):

Detective James Hart, Parkersburg Police Department

U.S. vs. Phillips (3:21-cr-135):

Special Agent Todd Berry, FBI

Special Agent Michael McDonald, FBI

Special Agent Jarred Shockey, FBI

Special Agent Phil Gunther, FBI

Special Agent James F. Lafferty II, FBI

Special Agent Georgia Marshall, FBI

Special Agent John Reese, FBI

Sergeant Bradford Burner, West Virginia State Police–BCI

Sergeant Richard Stephenson, West Virginia State Police

Lieutenant Jason Lanham, Summersville Police Department

Asset Forfeiture Coordinator Jaime Cochran, U.S. Marshals Service

Category: Outstanding Community Partner Award

Larry Snidow, Health Education Specialist, WV Health Right

Category: Collaborative Law Enforcement Award

United States Marshals Service

Michael Baylous, U.S. Marshal

Anthony Santoro, Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal

Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Fred Lamey

Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Matt Ingram

Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Chris Leachman

Administrative Officer Chris Thompson

 

Category: Drug & Violent Crime Task Force of the Year

Beckley/Raleigh County Drug & Violent Crime Task Force

Task Force Commander: Sergeant Rob Richards, West Virginia State Police-BCI

 

Law Enforcement Officers of the Year

Special Agent Jennifer King, FBI

Sergeant Curtis Adkins, West Virginia State Police-BCI

Detective Jeremy Thompson, South Charleston Police Department

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New Intermediate Court chooses Greear as first chief judge, announces satellite locations

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Intermediate Court Judge Dan Greear has been chosen the new court’s first chief judge.

ICA Chief Judge Dan Greear

Greear and fellow ICA judges will rotate the first few years of the position. Greear will serve the rest of 2022 and 2023. Judge Tom Scarr will be chief judge in 2024 and Judge Charles Lorensen will serve in the leadership role in 2025.

“I am honored to have been chosen by my colleagues to be the first chief judge of this
new court. We have a unique opportunity to build a new appellate court from scratch, and we want to build one that is accessible, transparent, and fair,” Greear said in a Friday news release.

During an ICA advisory panel meeting in March, state Supreme Court Chief Justice John Hutchison talked about the challenges of getting a new court up and running.

“You know, to some extent we’re flying this airplane as we’re building it so we’re trying to make sure we at least don’t crash,” Hutchison said.

ICA Judge Tom Scarr

“And our goal is absolutely to have the best intermediate court of appeals that we can have in the state of West Virginia, and that it operates appropriately based upon its mission as outlined by the Legislature.”

The ICA, which officially begins its work July 1, also announced Friday that it will operate satellite courtrooms in Grant, Lewis, Morgan, Raleigh and Wetzel counties where litigants can appear and argue their cases by video. Those involved in the appeals will also have the option of arguing their cases in person before the three judges in Charleston.

According to the news release, the locations were chosen based on security, parking and accessibility. Each location will have a waiting room and a courtroom equipped with “professional-grade conference equipment.”

ICA Judge Charles Lorensen

The legislature created the new court in 2021. The judges will hear appeals of civil cases, appeals from family courts (except domestic violence cases), appeals from state agencies or administrative law judges, and Workers Comp appeals.

Gov. Jim Justice appointed all three judges to staggered terms.

Greear’s term ends on December 31, 2026; Judge Scarr’s term ends December 31, 2024; and Judge Lorensen’s term ends December 31, 2028.  The ICA judges will then be on spring election ballots with other judicial candidates. Terms will run 10-years.

 

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Morgantown pulls away from Jefferson to win the Class AAA state track title

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Morgantown’s success in the distance events and relays propelled the Mohigans to the Class AAA state track championship Friday at University of Charleston Stadium.

The Mohigans won four events on the final day to score 96 points. That mark was 22 points better than the runners-up from Jefferson. MHS clinched the title with two events remaining. Junior Irene Riggs won her two events in the 1600 meters and the 800 meters. She also won the 3200 meters on Thursday night, en route to individual high point honors.

The Mohigans won the 4×800 and 4×400 relays. They also finished first, second and fourth in the 800 meter run to build a sizable lead that they would not relinquish.

“We just have so much talent — young talent and talent that is going to be leaving us as seniors. This isn’t the end. This is just the beginning. We have been here before and we plan to continue to keep this up. The tradition will continue at Morgantown High track,” said Morgantown head coach Steve Blinco.

“We now have the Mylan Park facility. And we are going to make a move at trying to host a state meet. Morgantown is ready to host this event and we are going to make a push to host this meet in our backyard next year.”

Jefferson recorded a pair of victories on the final day of the meet en route to runner-up honors. The Cougars finished first in the 4×100 and 4×200 relays. They also placed in the 4×400 and the shuttle relays.

A pair of Mountain State Athletic Conference athletes are double winners. Capital’s Candace Morris tied her state record in the 100 meters set Thursday in a time of 12.04 seconds. Morris also finished first in the 200 meters.

Hurricane’s Lily Haught swept the hurdle events, winning the 100 meter hurdles and the 300 meter hurdles by sizable margins.

Other winners on the final day included Preston’s Sierra Davis. She was the winner in the discus competition. University junior Sierra Lanham won the long jump by nearly a foot. She leaped 17 feet, 8 and a half inches. Parkersburg won the shuttle hurdle relay and George Washington’s Faith Smith was the winner in the pole vault.

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Former Mountaineer assistant Calvin Magee dead at 59

JACKSONVILLE, Alabama — Former WVU assistant football coach Calvin Magee died Friday after suffering a massive heart attack earlier this week.

Magee, who was 59, was set to be the offensive coordinator at Jacksonville State University for former Mountaineer football coach Rich Rodriguez.

Rodriguez released a statement Friday afternoon mourning the death of his longtime friend.

“Our hearts are broken with the loss of our beloved friend Calvin Magee,” Rodriguez said. “Calvin was a great husband, great father and grandfather, great coach, great friend and great man. He impacted my life and the lives of so many others in a positive way.”

Rodriguez hired Magee when he replaced Don Nehlen to lead the Mountaineer football program. Magee was offensive coordinator and coached running backs, helping to call plays that players like Pat White and Steve Slaton executed.

Magee went with Rodriguez to Michigan after the 2007 season. He coached at Pitt in 2011 before following Rodriguez to Arizona. He’s been at several other schools since including last season at Duke before joining with Rodriguez for a fourth time when RichRod was named Jacksonville State’s head coach.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his beautiful family,” Rodriguez said. “Our world is less but heaven got better. I miss him dearly already. I love you brother.”

Former Mountaineer defensive coordinator and current North Carolina State Defensive Coordinator Tony Gibson tweeted that he had the honor and privilege of knowing Magee for 21 years.

“I am heartbroken for Rose and the family he was not only a great coach but an amazing father and husband. He will be missed by so many!We Love You!!!”

Magee was an All-American tight end at Southern University and played in the NFL with Tampa Bay.

He is survived by wife Rose, daughters Jade and Jasmine, son Bryson, and grandchildren.

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Civil cases against former Kanawha County teacher may go before Mass Litigation Panel

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The chief justice of the state Supreme Court will decide if seven civil lawsuits filed against former Kanawha County special education teacher Nancy Boggs will be combined and sent to the state’s Mass Litigation panel.

Nancy Boggs
Photo/CPD

Plaintiffs attorneys have asked for that designation for the cases.

A brief hearing was held Friday before Kanawha County Circuit Judge Maryclaire Akers. The request is now headed to the High Court where Chief Justice John Hutchison will be asked to move the cases to the three-judge panel which normally is given civil lawsuits with multiple plaintiffs.

Boggs, who taught at Holz Elementary School, also faces criminal charges for how she allegedly treated special needs students. Her criminal trial is currently set for June 27.

Charleston attorney Ben Salango, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs in the civil cases, said Friday he expects a ruling from Hutchison in 60 to 90 days.

The Boggs case was the momentum behind lawmakers considering and eventually passing a bill that enhances state code when it comes to video recordings being mandated in special education classrooms. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Jim Justice.

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Rosters set for the North-South Girls Basketball All-Star Game

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Athletic Directors Association has released rosters for the North-South Girls Basketball All-Star Game. The contest will be part of a doubleheader with the Boys All-Star game. It is set for Friday, June 10 at 6 p.m. at the South Charleston Community Center.

South All-Stars:

  • Dionna Gray (Huntington)
  • Talayah Boxley (Capital)
  • Peyton Ilderton (Logan)
  • Hannah Perdue (Pikeview)
  • Jasmine Tabor (Wayne)
  • Emily Lancaster (Nitro)
  • Kayla Baisden (Tug Valley)
  • Natalyia Sayles (Capital)
  • Sasha Savetava (Herbert Hoover)
  • Daisha Summers (Greenbrier East)
  • Jayden Doub (St. Albans)
  • Hannah Blankenship (Wyoming East)
  • Imani Hickman (Huntington)

Coaches – Jaime LaMaster (George Washington) & Pat Jones (Nitro)

 

North All-Stars:

  • Shelby McDaniels (Buckhannon-Upshur)
  • Skyler Bosely (Parkersburg South)
  • Marley Washenitz (Fairmont Senior)
  • Leslie Huffman (Parkersburg Catholic)
  • Halley Smith (Frankfort)
  • Malaysia Morgan (Gilmer County)
  • Josie Montgomery (Calhoun County)
  • Meredith Maier (Marshall)
  • Alivia Ammons (Clay-Battelle)
  • Katlyn Carson (North Marion)
  • Kisten Roberts (Parkersburg)
  • Lainie Ross (Parkersburg Catholic)

Coaches – Ryan Young (Wheeling Park) & Jason White (Morgantown)

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Gene Vance Jr. Day set for Saturday in Morgantown

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The life of the first West Virginia National Guard member to die in the War on Terror will be remembered Saturday in Morgantown with the 11th annual Gene Vance Jr. Day.

Gene Vance Jr

Vance, who grew up in Wyoming County but lived in Morgantown, died May 18, 2002. while deployed in Afghanistan in the early days Operation Enduring Freedom. He came under fire while on patrol. He was 39-years-old.

“He saved the lives of 11 Afghans and two American soldiers and was critically wounded,” Mike Minc, founder of the Vance Jr. Foundation, said this week on WAJR’s “Talk of the Town.” “They were on a mission to find Bin Laden after that terrible attack on 9/11.

Minc said, out of an abundance of caution, Saturday’s event will be held virtually and all donations will help the most severely wounded, and veterans who paid the ultimate price.

“It is to provide care for very uniquely injured veterans were you have catastrophic injuries that has never been see before in the history of modern science, medical science and modern warfare,” Minc, Vance’s brother-in-law, said.

The virtual event will feature a variety of music including the Davisson Brothers and the 249th Army Band among others. Gov. Jim Justice, U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin, Retired Major General Jim Hoyer, WVU President Gordon Gee, Morgantown Mayor Jenny Selin and the Command Sargent Major of the 19th Special Forces Group will offer tributes.

“The purpose of the event this year is to honor and pay tribute to the people and soldiers of the Ukraine, American soldiers and their allies that are presently serving, veterans who have fallen and those who are severely wounded and have sacrificed much protecting American values and our way of life,” Minc said.

Saturday is also Armed Forces Day.

A link to the foundation website and virtual event is here. 

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