TAYLOR COUNTY—After merely walking off the grounds of the Pruntytown Correctional Center, an inmate enters a plea deal with the state and is sentenced in Taylor County Circuit Court.
John Wayne Wortman, 36, of Mount Olive Prison, was back in front of Circuit Court Judge Alan D. Moats last week, to enter a guilty plea to felony escape. For his crime, the defendant would be facing a determinate sentence of up to five years in prison.
As part of the negotiated plea deal, the state of West Virginia, being represented by Prosecuting Attorney John Bord, would recommend that Wortman be sentenced to one year in prison, and that his sentence be served concurrently with one already being carried out.
The defendant became an inmate at the Pruntytown Correctional Center after being found guilty of fraudulent schemes involving an access device. In November 2019, he left the facility without permission.
A manhunt ensued, and Wortman was found near Donald G. Ford Funeral Home, on US Route 50, approximately two miles from the correctional center.
When asked why he left the grounds of the facility, Wortman provided no reasoning saying, “I just left. I just walked away from the prison.”
According to Criminal Defense Attorney Greg Michael, Wortman had accepted full responsibility for his actions, and had been cooperative with authorities and court officials following the incident.
“Mr. Wortman knows what he did was wrong, and he has no excuse for his actions. He clearly just made a bad decision, but he accepts responsibility for his actions,” said Michael.
Because no other laws were broken during Wortman’s escapades, and because he had been cooperative with authorities, Moats agreed to sentence the defendant in accordance with the plea agreement.
“You will be confined in prison for one year’s time, and that sentence will be served concurrent with the one you are already serving,” Moats ordered.
Additionally, Tyler Ray Gorrell, 31, was present in court with his lawyer, Ashley Smith, to enter a guilty plea to felonious possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver—methamphetamine.
For his charge, the defendant was facing one to five years in prison and a fine of not more than $15,000.According to Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Christopher Miller, as part of the plea deal, the state would recommend that Gorrell be placed on a deferred adjudication for two years, to allow him to successfully complete the Taylor County Community Corrections Program.
Should the program be successfully completed, the state would allow his charge to be lessened to a misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance, which would carry a fine of $100.
“If for some reason Mr. Gorrell fails to complete the program successfully, the state would accept his plea to the felony charge and sentencing would be completed at that time,” voiced Miller.
Moats ordered that he would allow Gorrell to attempt to complete the community corrections program in return for a lesser sentence. The acceptance of his guilty plea to felony possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver would be deferred for the time being.