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Grand jury indicts for homemade bomb, assault on officer

McKnight

Recent indictments by a Washington County grand jury include a man charged with possessing explosives and a man accused of ramming an Ohio State Highway Patrol cruiser during a chase.

James Allen McKnight, 44, of 26 Colegate Drive, Marietta, was indicted on three charges, including two counts of unlawful possession of dangerous ordnance-illegally manufacturing or processing explosives, both fifth-degree felonies, and one count of improperly discharging firearm at or into a habitation, in a school safety zone or with intent to cause harm or panic to persons in a school building or at a school function, a second-degree felony.

On March 4, Marietta Police officers reportedly were contacted to perform a welfare check on McKnight. While there, officers found several bullet holes exiting a window that appeared as if the bullet would have struck a neighbor’s house. Officers executed a search warrant and recovered firearms and a homemade explosive device.

Washington County Prosecutor Nicole Coil said Noble County Prosecutor Kelly Riddle will prosecute the case, as there is a conflict of interest in Coil’s office.

Coil said the dangerous ordnance was essentially a homemade bomb.

Smith

“It was a firework wrapped in duct tape containing numerous metal items such as screws, nails, bolts and washers,” she said. “It had a wick protruding from the top.”

She added McKnight pleaded not guilty to reason of insanity with the suggestion of incompetency.

A two-year-old case was also sent to the grand jury as part of a backlog of cases the prosecutor’s office is working through.

Christopher P. Smith, 32, of 807 Virginia Ave., Parkersburg, was indicted on one count of failure to comply with order or signal of police officer, a third-degree felony; one count of felonious assault, a first-degree felony; and one count of unauthorized use of a vehicle, a fifth-degree felony.

The incident occurred on March 15, 2018. Smith has been incarcerated part of that time in West Virginia, said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Jim Schneider.

“(The car chase) ended up in West Virginia and he was prosecuted there for some of the same things that happened here,” he said.

Sgt. Dustin Payne of the Ohio State Highway Patrol spotted the car Smith was driving and noticed a minor traffic defect, such as a taillight violation, Schneider explained. Payne noticed the car around Second and Butler streets and followed it up to Second and Greene streets with his lights on. The 1998 Buick Regal, driven by Smith, appeared to pull over at Second and Greene, but when Payne started to get out of his cruiser, Smith allegedly took off toward the Williamstown Bridge.

“(Payne) didn’t want to pursue him for a small infraction,” Schneider said. “Instead, (Smith) didn’t go over the bridge, he went out Pike Street.”

Payne pursued Smith onto Pike Street, where Smith reportedly slowed down. When Payne pulled alongside him, Smith allegedly rammed his car into the cruiser, hitting it on the side.

“They were only going 20 or 30 miles an hour,” Schneider said.

Smith then allegedly took off at a high rate of speed on Pike Street toward the interstate. Payne called for backup and Marietta Police cruisers converged at Interstate 77 and Pike Street, Schneider said.

Smith rammed reportedly Payne’s car again before heading up the ramp and onto Interstate 77 toward Williamstown.

Schneider said the Wood County Sheriff and West Virginia State Patrol were called. Smith took the Williamstown exit and headed out West Virginia 31 toward the airport. Smith lost control of the vehicle, going off the road into a ditch.

“They found cocaine in the car and they figure that’s why he was running,” Schneider said.

In Ohio, he was charged with not stopping for Payne’s signal and for felonious assault for ramming Payne’s cruiser the second time.

“The second time was when they were going at a higher rate of speed,” Schneider said.

Smith did not have permission from the owner to drive the Buick Regal, so he was charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle.

Other indictments include:

•Taevion T. Thompson, 21, of 733 Storer Ave., Akron, was re-indicted on two charges stemming from a narcotics search in January 2019. The charges include one count of trafficking in a fentanyl-related compound/major drug offender, a first-degree felony, and one count of possession of a fentanyl-related compound/major drug offender, a first-degree felony.

Thompson was arrested along with five others during a search of an upstairs apartment at 610 Second St., Marietta. The search resulted in the largest seizure of drugs in Washington County in the last several years, according to police reports. During the search conducted by agents of the Ohio Organized Crimes Investigations Commission and the Washington Morgan Noble Major Crimes Task Force, approximately 109 grams of heroin, 117 grams of methamphetamine and more than $2,700 in cash were seized.

• Falcon R. Owens, 25, of 220 S. Sixth St. Apt. B, Marietta, was indicted on three charges, including one count of aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony; one count of domestic violence, a fourth-degree felony, and one count of theft, a first-degree misdemeanor. The indictment stems from an incident on Aug. 18, 2019, at 801 Ferry St., Beverly.

• Judd A. Burke, 28, of 45669 Miller Road, Pomeroy, was indicted on one count of aggravated possession of methamphetamine, a fifth-degree felony. He was arrested on July 9, 2019, at 1210 Lockwood St., Belpre.

• Carl R. Sprout, 36, last known address of 5 Wharton Drive, Parkersburg, was indicted on one count of possession of .46 grams of heroin, a fifth-degree felony. He was arrested on April 27, 2018, at 804 Pike St., Marietta.

•Zachary Barnett, 33, of 865 Dodd Run Road, Marietta, was indicted in two separate cases. The first case included one count of possession of methamphetamine, a third-degree felony, and one count of obstruction of justice, a second-degree misdemeanor. This case stems from an arrest after a traffic stop on Jan. 22, where Barnett initially stated that he was his brother. He was arrested on warrants and at the jail gave his real identity. He had a felony warrant for his arrest and was also found to be in possession of 4.2 grams of suspected methamphetamine and three used syringes.

The second case included one count of having weapons while under disability, a third-degree felony. During a traffic stop in the 100 block of Wooster Street on Dec. 5, 2017, a K9 sniff of the vehicle led to a positive hit where passenger Barnett was seated. A search revealed a loaded handgun and a marijuana smoking pipe. The handgun was seized due to no proof of ownership and no bill of sale. As part of the indictment, the Lorgin Model L380 is subject to forfeit. He has a prior conviction for a third-degree felony daytime burglary out of Pleasants County, W.Va.

• Melissa D. Myers, 29, of 731 Glendale Road Apt. 5, Marietta, was indicted on one count of obstructing justice, a third-degree felony. On Feb. 21, officers investigated an incident at Marietta Middle School where Myers allegedly attempted to coerce a child victim into recanting testimony against her juvenile son.

• Matthew Lester Jones, 35, of 806 Front St., Marietta, was indicted on one count of possession of a deadly weapon while under detention, a third-degree felony, and one count of possession of criminal tools, a fifth-degree felony.

According to sheriff’s reports, on Feb. 23, a deputy at the Washington County Jail initiated an investigation after a block check revealed Jones with a razor blade in his hand and bleeding from the neck. Jones then allegedly took an aggressive fighting stance with his hand closed into a fist, advising the officers not to enter the block. He eventually was talked down and the weapon taken into evidence.

• Clinton D. Hornbeck, 43, of 1607 Hill St., Belpre, was indicted on three charges, including one count of aggravated trafficking in methamphetamine, a third-degree felony; one count of aggravated possession of methamphetamine, a third-degree felony; and one count of improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, a fourth-degree felony. The indictment stems from an arrest in November in Belpre, where Hornbeck was found with a Ruger LC9 handgun while committing the drug offenses. The handgun and $250 in cash are subject to forfeit.

• Kelly J. Farnsworth, 31, of 2334 State Route 339, Belpre, was indicted on one count of domestic violence, a third-degree felony. A Marietta Police officer was dispatched to 209 Fearing St., on Dec. 29, in reference to a domestic violence complaint. Farnsworth allegedly scratched the victim’s eyes and face, and pulled her hair out. Farnsworth had two prior convictions.

• Jesse C. Farmer, 23, of 844 Greene St., Apt. 2, Marietta, was indicted on four charges, including two counts of receiving stolen property and two counts of theft, all fifth-degree felonies. When arrested in December, Farmer was allegedly found with a Peoples Bank debit card and a Bank of America card belonging to another person.

• Thomas J. Lauric, 37, of 1001 Olive St., Parkersburg , was indicted in two separate cases. The first indictment was on four charges, including three counts of breaking and entering, all fifth-degree felonies, and one count of theft, a first-degree misdemeanor. Lauric allegedly broke into three victims’ storage units at Stow It Self Storage, 21 Clifton Road, Little Hocking, in November 2018, and stole items.

The second indictment included eight charges, including three counts of breaking and entering, all fifth-degree felonies; three counts of petty theft, all first-degree misdemeanors; one count of criminal damaging, a second-degree misdemeanor; and one count of resisting arrest, a second-degree misdemeanor. Lauric allegedly broke into three units at the TCCI Storage on Washington Boulevard in Belpre, and attempted to steal items.

• Richard R. Young II, 34, of 2071 Cave Hill Road, Little Hocking, was indicted on three charges, including two counts of theft and one count of breaking and entering, all fifth-degree felonies. On Dec. 1, 2019, Young allegedly stole $300 from an elderly man. He also allegedly broke into the residence at 674 Veto Road, Little Hocking, where he reportedly stole a Stihl MS 271 model chain saw from the same elderly man.

• Tracy R. Williams, 38, of 2265 Tick Ridge Road, Lower Salem, was indicted on one count of possession of 1.3053 grams of methamphetamine, a fifth-degree felony, and one count of possession of buprenorphine, a narcotic pain reliever, a first-degree misdemeanor. The indictments stem from an arrest after an incident March 2019 on Ohio 7 near milepost 26 in Marietta Township.

• Amber D. Boyd, 30, of 26950 Ridge Road, Coolville, was indicted on one count of possession of .44 grams of methamphetamine, a fifth-degree felony, and one count of drug paraphernalia, a fourth-degree misdemeanor. Boyd was arrested on Jan. 3, 2019, on U.S. 50, near milepost 4 in Belpre Township. She was found with the methamphetamine and a glass smoking pipe.

• Brandon L. Richards, 30, of 20870 State Route 60, Beverly, was indicted on one count of possession of .95 grams of methamphetamine, a fifth-degree felony. He was arrested on June 10, 2019, at the intersection of Clement Avenue and Hocking Road in Belpre.

• Kenton R. Barker, 22, of 3623 Packard St., Parkersburg, was indicted along with Brandon L. Richards, on one count of possession of 1.5849 grams of methamphetamine, a fifth-degree felony, and one count of unauthorized use of a vehicle, a first-degree misdemeanor. He was arrested on June 10, 2019, at the intersection of Clement Avenue and Hocking Road in Belpre. He was allegedly driving a 2005 Chevrolet Malibu without the consent of the owner, Jordan Menking.

• Jesse E. Stoops, 35, of 24500 Mountain Bell Road, Coolville, was indicted on three charges, including one count of possession of 1.0128 grams of heroin, a fourth-degree felony; one count of possession of .0838 grams of the stimulant cathinone, a fifth-degree felony; and one count of possessing drug abuse instruments, a second-degree misdemeanor. The indictments stem from an arrest on June 17, 2019, on Ohio 550 near milepost 19 in Warren Township. Stoops was reportedly found with the drugs and three hypodermic needles.

• James W. Radabaugh, 33, of 100 Miller Ave., Marietta, was indicted on four charges, including one count of having weapons while under disability, a third-degree felony; one count of improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle, a fourth-degree felony; one count of possessing drug abuse instruments, a second-degree misdemeanor; and one count of opened container of beer or intoxicating liquor prohibited at certain premises, a fourth-degree misdemeanor.

On Feb. 22, a deputy with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office conducted a traffic stop on a blue Toyota truck at the 17 mile marker of Ohio 7, Warren Township. Radabaugh, the driver, was asked if there were any drugs or weapons in the vehicle that he should not have. He advised he had a loaded handgun under his driver’s side seat, and did not have a CCW permit. Radabaugh exited the vehicle at that time. He was asked if he had anything on his person that could be construed as illegal and he advised yes, a hypodermic syringe, which was previously used to inject methamphetamine. The deputy also located an open Four Loco alcoholic container.

• Kevin M. Ridgeway, 30, of 403 Main St., New Matamoras, was indicted on three charges, including one count of breaking and entering, a fifth-degree felony, one count of theft, a fourth-degree felony, and one count of tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony.

A sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to 1915 Rinard Mills Road on Dec. 26 in reference to a stolen 2013 Honda 4-wheeler. Orval Bradfield advised his 4-wheeler was chained to a post on his front porch and secured with a pad lock. A witness observed Kevin Ridgeway riding Bradfield’s 4-wheeler on/or about Dec. 24, away from his residence, and Bradfield later saw Ridgeway riding his 4-wheeler. During the investigation, additional subjects had observed someone riding the 4-wheeler and doing donuts in the Parkway Townhouses parking lot, and two of them confirmed the driver was Ridgeway. The 4-wheeler was recovered from some brush behind Parkway Townhouses, which is about 50 yards from where it appeared to have been crashed into a telephone pole. Ridgeway was also observed walking away from where the 4-wheeler was hidden.

• William D. McFall Jr., 61, of 1218 Williamson Ave., New Matamoras, was indicted on one count of having weapons while under disability, a third-degree felony, and one count of receiving stolen property, a fourth-degree felony. McFall was arrested in September 2018 after he was allegedly found with a Ruger MK II semi-automatic pistol. He had a prior felony drug offense in the Washington County Court of Common Pleas, a third-degree felony.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

Possible Prison Terms & Maximum Fines:

• First-degree felony: Three to 11 years; $20,000.

• Second-degree felony: Two to eight years; $15,000.

• Third-degree felony: One to three years; $10,000.

• Third-degree felony involving an act of sex or violence: One to five years; $10,000.

• Fourth-degree felony: Six to 18 months; $5,000.

• Fifth-degree felony: Six months to one year; $2,500.

Source: Washington County Common Pleas Court.

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