Four plea agreements entered in Taylor County Circuit Court

TAYLOR COUNTY—Nineteenth Circuit Court Judge Alan D. Moats accepted negotiated plea agreements from four individuals in Taylor County Circuit Court, last week.

Michael Lee Skiles, 28, was present with is lawyer Tyler Reseter to present the agreement. Skiles agreed to plead guilty to possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, for which he was indicted during the September 2018 Grand Jury term.

Skiles was indicted on one count of possession and one count of delivery of a controlled substance, but the agreement stated that the state would drop the delivery charge against him.

According to Skiles, in March 2018, he sold .2 grams of methamphetamine, for which he received cash. He was involved in a drug operation which included Clyde Jennings Bowman, Steven Paul Cook, Anthony Shane Alderman and Sheila Marie Bowman, who did not show up to court last week and has had a capias issued for her arrest.

With the entry of the guilty plea, the defendant faced a possible one-to-five-year sentence, of a fine of not more than $15,000 or both.

The prosecutor revealed that he would recommend a prison sentence, that would be suspended, and Skiles would be placed on probation, which would be transferred to Maryland.

“We are asking that the recommendation of the state be accepted,” voiced Reseter. “His mother lives in Cumberland, and he would return to live with her.”

He further revealed that Skiles had a job waiting on him upon his release.

“Because this is his first felony offense, we are asking that he be allowed to return to Cumberland and be placed on probation for his actions,” Reseter added.

Moats ordered that Skiles one-to-five-year sentence would be suspended, and that he would be placed on three years of probation.

He further ordered the he would allow for the defendant’s probation to be transferred, if it was accepted by Maryland through the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision.

John Franklin Arbogast, 50, of Buckhannon, was back in court to enter a guilty plea to conspiracy to commit a felony.

Back in April, he was indicted on one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and one count of conspiracy to commit a felony by the Taylor County Grand Jury.

As part of the negotiated plea, Arbogast’s additional charge would be dropped. He would face a possible sentence of not less than one nor more than five years in prison, a fine of not more than $10,000 or both.

During the hearing, Arbogast’s council, Jason Gain, addressed the court with a “chicken and egg” situation.

“He is currently facing similar charges in Upshur County, and we would like to sentence him concurrently with these charges,” Gain revealed. “We would ask to have his sentence held in abeyance and have him placed on the Community Corrections program, but the issue is they have not sentenced him yet.”

He disclosed that through communication with officials in Upshur County, if he were to be sentenced to Community Corrections, they would follow suit.

After some discussion, Moats ordered that Arbogast would be sentenced to one-to-five years in prison, with credit for the time he had already served. He would have to serve the sentence behind bars until the other county’s matters had been resolved.

“I will allow you to file a motion for bond supervision following his sentencing in the other case,” Moats told Gain.

Additionally, Jacob R. Sparks, 24, agreed to plead guilty to fraudulent schemes, which carries a potential sentence of not less than one nor more than ten years in prison, or at the court’s discretion one year in a regional jail and a fine of $2,500.

As part of the agreement, Spark’s defense council, Jason Gain, would enter a deferred statute to suspend the felony for such time that it would become a misdemeanor.

The state reported that he would oppose the deferment, and that they would recommend that the sentence be held in abeyance and Sparks be placed on the Community Corrections program.

Moats ordered that a presentence investigation would need to be completed before he would set the matter down for sentencing.

41-year-old Nicholas Jachelski’s hearing concerning his guilty plea to entering without breaking had to be continued after Moats learned that the victim in the case had not be notified of the agreement.


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