TAYLOR COUNTY—Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Shawn Nines heard the cases of two non-Taylor County residents in Circuit Court on Friday and handed down sentences in both matters.
Among the cases was that of 35-year-old Joshua Lee Milburn, originally of Gypsy, WV but now being housed in the North Central Regional Jail, who had previously been charged by the Taylor County Grand Jury during their September term for fleeing in a vehicle from law enforcement, showing reckless indifference for the safety of others; wanton endangerment involving a firearm; possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver; and kidnapping.
After discussions between himself, his lawyer, Dean Morgan and the State of West Virginia represented by Taylor County Prosecutor John Bord, a plea deal was struck between the parties, that would involve the dismissal of various charges.
As part of the agreement, in a hearing on March 29, Milburn admitted guilt to count one of the indictment, fleeing in a vehicle from law enforcement showing reckless indifference for the safety of others, as well as count three, possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, the drug being methamphetamine.
In return of a guilty plea, the state would move to dismiss counts two and four, in return for his guilty plea.
For his crime of fleeing, the defendant faced a possible sentence of a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $2,000 and imprisonment in a state correctional facility not less than one nor more than five years.
Additionally, for his possession charge, Milburn potentially faced an additional one to 15 years in prison, fined not more than $25,000, or both fined and imprisoned.
During the hearing, Milburn told the court that he had been driving around last at night in Taylor County, when he was pulled over by the police and arrested. He further revealed that he could not recall if he had drugs on his person or in the car at the time of the traffic stop, and that he was under the influence of drugs during the incident.
After discussing with Milburn his rights pertaining to the entry of a guilty plea, Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Shawn D. Nines accepted the defendant’s admission to the accused crimes.
In accordance with the negotiated plea agreement, Milburn underwent a presentence investigation, conducted by Taylor County Probation Officer Heather Squires, and now that the inquiry had been completed, Nines was set to sentence Milburn last week.
The investigation revealed an extensive criminal history for the defendant, spanning multiple counties and dating back to 2007. In fact, the report showed a pattern of his Taylor County charges of fleeing and possession with intent to deliver with similar charges in Harrison County, as well as a possession charge in Marion County.
According to court documents, because of his lack of regard for the safety of others while leading law enforcement officers on a high-speed pursuit, the court felt that an alternative sentence was not fitting.
That sentiment was further strengthened when Nines voiced that Milburn’s drug dealings in Taylor County would not be tolerated by the court.
Instead, Judge Nines ordered that Milburn would serve one to five years in a state penitentiary for his fleeing charge, along with one to 15 years for the possession charge.
Furthermore, it was ordered that the two sentences be run consecutively with one another, meaning that the defendant would have to discharge one before starting the other, effectively making his total time behind bars two to 20 years.
Of course, with good time, Milburn could potentially see release in a portion of that time.