TAYLOR COUNTY—After being directly indicted by the Taylor County Grand Jury and then arrested in January 2020 for multiple sexual assault charges, a local woman has entered a guilty plea in Taylor County Circuit Court.
Louellen J. Bonner, of Grafton, was originally charged for four counts of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or custodian; four counts of sexual assault in the first degree; and four counts of incest.
The charges were made following an investigation concerning Bonner’s son, Charles, where he was ultimately charged with two counts of incest, two counts of felony child neglect, four counts of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, or custodian and ten counts of first-degree sexual assault.
As part of a plea deal between him and the state of West Virginia, he promised to testify against his mother.
The penalty for one count of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or custodian is not less than ten nor more than 20 years in prison. Meanwhile sexual assault in the first degree carries a 25-100-year term and the prison sentence for incest is five-15 years.
If convicted on all her charges, Louellen Bonner would be facing a possible 160-540 years in a state penitentiary.
On July 19, L. Bonner, alongside her attorney Zach Dyer, entered into her own deal with the state, represented by Assistant Prosecutor Claire Niehuas.
In return of a guilty plea to count two of her indictment, sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, custodian or person in a position of trust, the Neihaus would move to dismiss all her other charges with prejudice.
Finding that Bonner was suffering from no mental, physical or other sickness, and after going over her rights to the entry of a guilty plea, Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Alan D. Moats discussed the charges against the defendant, along with the possible penalties.
He then questioned a representative from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources if she agreed with the terms of the negotiated deal, to which she stated she was, noting that it was in the best interest of the child involved.
Moats accepted the plea agreement, allowing Bonner to withdraw her previous not guilty plea, and instead enter a guilty plea to sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, custodian or person in a position of trust.
In agreement with the deal, Moats ordered that all her other charges were dismissed with prejudice. He further ordered that Bonner would undergo a presentence investigation before the matter would be set for sentencing.
Dyer asked that the court complete a Sex Offender Evaluation, as well as a home confinement investigation. During the duration of the investigations, Bonner’s $250,000 bond was allowed to continue.
According to Niehuas, a sentencing hearing will not be scheduled until all information is obtained and the various reports are completed.