TAYLOR COUNTY—More defendants were in court on Tuesday morning to appear before Judge Alan D. Moats, some of them presenting negotiated plea deals with the state of West Virginia.
Among those pleading was Edward Jacob Grinnan, who, along with his defense attorney Katika Ribel, negotiated a plea agreement. In the document, the defendant agreed to plead guilty to grand larceny, which carried a potential sentence of one-to-ten years in prison, or at the discretion of the court up to one year in a regional jail and a possible fine of not more than $2,500
In return for his admission of guilt, the state would recommend that he be sentenced to the prison term, which would be held in abeyance, and he would be placed on the Taylor County Community Corrections program. In addition, he would be responsible for paying restitution to his victim in the amount of $250.
According to court testimony, in April 2020, Grinnan took a 2004 Honda Civic, valued at approximately $2,500 from a friend without permission. While in possession of the vehicle, he was involved in a wreck, and the victim was forced to pay a $250 towing bill, as a result.
Ribel told the court that they would be asking that Grinnan be sentenced in accordance with the plea agreement, and that he would be a good candidate for the Community Corrections Program.
She further revealed that the defendant would be residing with his mother upon his release from jail, who would work to ensure that her son followed the conditions of the program.
“Living with my mother will help me to stay off drugs,” said Grinnan. “She told me that the only way I would be allowed to live in her house is if I was on the program. I will do what is asked of me.”
Moats ordered that he would follow the state’s recommendation and would sentence Grinnan to one-to-ten years, to be carried out on Community Corrections.
“I am giving you the opportunity to do better,” Moats cautioned the defendant. “You better do what your mother asks of you. You better respect her rules, and you better treat your mother well.”
Dante Xavier Hall also received a lesson in treating his loved ones better, after Moats heard his case. Hall, represented by Greg Michael, agreed to plead guilty to two counts of forgery and two counts of uttering, that were charged by way of information by the Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Rachel Bickel.
According to Hall, in January 2020, he had taken, signed and passed off checks belonging to his grandmother. In total there were seven checks used, but as part of the plea deal, the state agreed to drop the charges for all but two checks.
For his actions, Hall was facing one-to-ten years for each charge, making his total combined sentence four-to-40 years, and the state would ask that the judge sentence them to be served consecutively, meaning he would have to serve one sentence before serving another.
Furthermore, the state would recommend that his prison sentence be held in abeyance and he be placed on Community Corrections, to be transferred to Harrison County where he now resides. Hall would also be subject to paying restitution to his grandmother in the amount of $112.
“Your grandmother trusted you completely. She loved you because you are her grandchild and this is what you did to her,” Moats said to Hall. “You took from the small amount of money she receives monthly, and for what, drugs?”
Hall admitted that he had been addicted to drugs for approximately one and a half to two years, but that since his arrest, he had been attending a methadone clinic and seeking counseling.
“My grandmother said she is glad that I’m doing better and glad that I am going to pay her back,” voiced Hall. “She said that she thinks I have learned my lesson.”
Michael told the court that in another twist, his client is the son of two federal corrections officers.
“He has been a great disappointment to his family, and it is all due to drugs,” he commented.
In an effort to allow the young man a chance at a life without a felony conviction looming over him, Moats ordered that he would not be accepting the plea deal presented before him. Instead, he would hold it in abeyance and allow Hall two years to successfully complete the Community Corrections program.
“I am going to give you an opportunity to keep a felony off of your shoulders and off of your record,” said Moats. “You have to make the effort to change your behavior and get off of the drugs.”
Should Hall successfully complete the program, Moats would allow for the state to recommend a reduction in his charges or even a motion for dismissal altogether.
“Your grandmother was more concerned about you than she was herself, but I am concerned about her. You should be concerned about her too and do what you can to make it right,” Moats imparted. “This is your opportunity to change your life.”