Manslaughter charge

A Washington County grand jury did not find enough evidence to uphold a murder charge levied May 23 against a man involved in an April beating death. Instead the grand jury brought charges of involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault and tampering with evidence against 28-year-old Ira David Blair.

“Murder requires that the state prove the defendant purposely caused the death of another individual,” explained Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Rings on Monday.

Evidence suggested that Blair had purposefully beaten the victim, 68-year-old Frank B. Stephens, of Marietta, but had not intended to kill him, said Rings.

“It appears to be a beating that went further than he intended,” he added.

Stephens was found dead April 2 at 139 Groves Ave., a trailer where Blair had temporarily been residing. After nearly two months, DNA analysis indicated that Blair had some of Stephens’ blood on him the morning after the murder and he was charged with Stephens’ murder.

Blair had initially indicated that the trailer’s primary resident, Richard Haught, was also present at the time of the crime, but it is not

definitively known if anyone other than Blair and Stephens were present, said Rings.

Blair was charged with two second-degree felony counts of felonious assault-one for causing physical harm by means of a deadly weapon and one for causing serious physical harm with his fists.

An autopsy performed by the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office indicated that Stephens had suffered blunt force trauma. However, what the weapon was is unclear, said Rings.

Blair was charged with a third-degree felony count of tampering with evidence for removing or attempting to conceal evidence from the scene of the crime.

Blair was also charged with involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony, for causing Stephens’ death.

He faces a maximum of 22 years in prison on all four charges.

In an unrelated case, Blair was indicted on a fourth-degree felony count of trafficking in drugs. On March 19, he is accused of selling heroin to a confidential informant in the vicinity of school property.

Arraigned Monday on all five charges, Blair pleaded “absolutely not guilty” on all charges.

Other grand jury indictments included:

Brandon S. Walters, 30, of 715 Greene St. Apt. A, Marietta, was indicted on a first-degree felony count of illegal manufacture of drugs and a second-degree felony count of illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs.

Walters’ residence was the subject of a search warrant on April 19 after the Major Crimes Task Force received information that Walters had allegedly recently purchased chemicals used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

Those items were found during the search resulting in the second-degree felony charge.

“While they were searching, he actually admitted to the officer that he had made meth once before, the day after his birthday,” said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Jared Erb.

The police reportedly corroborated that admission with Walters’ pseudoephedrine purchase records. The drug is one of the common ingredients used to manufacture methamphetamine.

Timothy S. Seevers Sr., 41, who is currently incarcerated in the Washington County Jail on charges of rape and sexual battery, was indicted for interference with custody. The fifth-degree felony charge resulted from Seevers allegedly taking his teenage son and keeping him from his mother between Feb. 21 and March 1, 2012, said Rings. The mother was the custodial parent, he added.

“He and the son were living wild in southern West Virginia,” said Rings.

Alexandra Lemley, 28, of 311 Main St., New Matamoras, was indicted on a fourth-degree felony charge of possession of drugs, a third-degree felony charge of illegal conveyance of prohibited items onto grounds of a specified governmental facility and a third-degree felony count of tampering with evidence.

Lemley and three others were arrested March 13 in Monroe County on their way back from a trip to Columbus.

Law enforcement officials recovered 12 grams of heroin, Oxycodone pills, two grams of crack cocaine and numerous paraphernalia as result of their search.

Lemley, who was a Pleasants County, W.Va. teacher at the time of her arrest, was also allegedly hiding 8 grams of heroin in a body cavity when she was processed into the Washington County Jail.

“They tell you at the jail if you have anything on you to turn it in, so she could have just been charged with possession if she had,” said Erb.

Michael D. Slonaker, 55, of 1209 Williamson Ave. Lot 33 B, New Matamoras, was indicted on a second-degree felony count of aggravated possession of drugs and a third-degree felony count of aggravated possession of drugs. The two counts relate to Slonaker allegedly possessing multiple Oxycodone pills in two different dosages. He purportedly had 276 of the 30-milligram tablets and 32 of the 15-milligram tablets.

A Parkersburg couple was indicted for theft for allegedly stealing more than $17,000 in welfare benefits. David Floyd, 42, and Debora Henry, 39, were each indicted on a fourth-degree felony count of theft. The husband and wife are accused of collecting Ohio benefits between May 2012 and February 2013, but the couple never lived in Ohio, said Erb. The address they listed as their Belpre home did not exist, said Erb. The couple was receiving West Virginia benefits at the time.

Robert J. Wells, 31, of 2535 State Route 83, Beverly, was indicted on a fifth-degree felony count of breaking and entering, a fourth-degree felony count of safe cracking and a fifth-degree felony count of theft. Wells was a suspect in a Nov. 25 breaking and entering at the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Beverly. Wells allegedly admitted the crime to authorities, telling them he had broken in to get money to buy heroin, said Erb.

Megan Skidmore, 25, of 2623 14th Ave., Parkersburg, and Ashley D. True, 24, of 3850 Central Ave. Apt. 28, Parkersburg, were each indicted on a fifth-degree felony count of possession of drugs. The two were pulled over in Marietta on March 7 and a detective from the Major Crimes Task Force supposedly found a container with a white substance in the vehicle.

“The girls told him, ‘Good luck. There’s not enough in there to test.’ But they sent it in for testing and it came back positive for bath salts,” said Erb.

Brian S. Moore, 37, of 1220 Williamson Ave., New Matamoras, was indicted on a fourth-degree felony count of grand theft of a motor vehicle. Moore is accused of climbing in through the back window of a 1991 Chevy Silverado on April 5, starting the vehicle and taking off. Moore was the previous owner of the vehicle and knew of a glitch that allowed you to start the ignition without keys, said Rings.

Michael A. Ray, 20, of 650 Perkinswood Blvd., Warren, was indicted on a fifth-degree felony count of aggravated possession of drugs. Ray was stopped on Interstate 77 by the Ohio State Highway Patrol on Dec. 3, and allegedly found with a white powder which later tested positive as one of the main ingredients in bath salts, a synthetic drug, said Erb.

Frank J. Nichols Jr., 30, of 133 West High St. Box 3, Salem, W.Va., was indicted on a fifth-degree felony count of possession of drugs. Stopped by the Ohio State Highway Patrol on May 25, 2012, officers allegedly found psilocybin mushrooms.

Charles B. Davis, 38, of 1094 Core Road, Parkersburg, was indicted on a fifth-degree felony count of theft and a fifth-degree felony count of falsification in a theft offense. Davis is accused of offering to build a garage for a resident in New Matamoras, taking a $4,368 down payment for the work on Nov. 26, and then disappearing without doing any work.

Dedra D. Allen, 42, of 1495 E. Poplar Ext., Davisville, W.Va., was indicted on a fifth-degree felony count of illegal processing of drug documents. On April 3, Allen is accused of trying to pass off a photocopied prescription for Vicodin at CVS Pharmacy in Marietta. A pharmacist thought the prescription looked suspicious, looked it up and realized the prescription had already been filled months earlier at the same CVS location, said Rings.

Arthur Thorton, 42, of 3509 6th Ave., Parkersburg, and Terra E. Hooper, also known as Terra E. Parrish, 33, of 7703 Ivandale Road, Parma, were each indicted on a third-degree felony count of grand theft, a fourth-degree felony count of grand theft and a third-degree felony count of tampering with evidence.

Hooper, who had been staying with two men in Dunham County, reportedly concocted a plan with Thorton to steal from the men, said Rings. Hooper allegedly gave Thorton a key, but the two planned to make the burglary look like entry had been forced.

Checks and firearms were among the items stolen from the residence. The tampering charge resulted from the duo supposedly faking the forced entry.

The landlord of the property was able to describe Thorton’s vehicle and security cameras caught him cashing some of the stolen checks, said Rings.

Yvonne M. Brandt, also known as Yvonne M. Duskey, 28, of 304 Maple St., Marietta, was indicted on a fourth-degree felony count of grand theft of a motor vehicle. Brandt is accused of stealing a Suzuki Esteem from somewhere on County House Lane in Marietta on Dec. 29.

Taylor Parmiter, 22, of 114 1/2 Putnam St., was indicted on a fifth-degree felony count of breaking and entering. Parmiter was familiar with the owners of Front Street business S.W.A.G.G., and obtained the key to the store while visiting their residence. Parmiter is accused of letting herself into the store late at night and stealing cash and other items. Parmiter was caught when the owners, suspicious of the disappearances, set up a wildlife camera in the store.