GRAFTON—After pleading guilty to domestic assault and wanton endangerment involving a firearm, one Taylor County man was back in court to learn his sentence.
On February 14, William Howard Sager, III was arrested after a reported wanton endangerment incident involving his girlfriend. According to the arresting officer, another victim came forward and reported that a similar incident had happened the same night between himself and Sager.
Sager’s victim reported that the defendant had shown up at his residence under the influence of alcohol, entered the home, pulled a gun and shot a round into the ceiling. Before discharging his weapon, it was reported that Sager first placed the barrel of the gun under his victim’s chin.
While in court, Sager’s council, Aaron Yoho, reported that the defendant had been given levels of medications that were too high, leading to his actions that night.
“No offense to my client, but he was a husk of a person when he came in here before,” Yoho spoke on his client’s behalf. “He has not been a problem on his supervised release. Mr. Sager is 50 and hadn’t been a problem leading up to the crime, nor has he been since.”
Sager addressed the court with an apology for his actions.
“I want to say I’m sorry for what happened that evening, but I’m not sorry that it led me to getting help,” he noted.
Taylor County Prosecuting Attorney John Bord shared with the court some concerns he had pertaining to the case.
“It was a very dangerous crime. He placed a gun under his victim’s chin and then discharged the weapon six inches from the victim’s head, causing some hearing loss,” he noted.
Sager’s victim was present in court to deliver an impact statement, where he told the judge he didn’t wish to see Sager behind bars because his actions were the result of the medication he was being prescribed.
“I don’t think that Mr. Sager is a bad man. It is my belief that his actions were brought on by the medications he was being given. It is the fault of his doctors that this all happened,” the victim shared.
Circuit Court Judge Alan D. Moats also voiced concern with Sager’s actions.
“You shot off a weapon six inches from your victim’s ear, causing hearing loss, yet he sits here and shows compassion for you,” Moats addressed Sager. “You’re the one that chose to carry out your actions. You gobbled up the drugs and then poured alcohol on top.”
Sager reported that a back injury sustained in a vehicle accident left him in pain, and that he went to see a doctor to help manage it.
He reported that during the time of his treatment with the doctor he was prescribed 168 Methadone pills, 112 Hydrocodone pills and 90 Valiums per month.
Sager was admitted into the John D. Goode Rehabilitation Center in Terra Alta, and has been able to release the hold that his prescribed medications had on him.
“As a judge it is never easy to hand out a sentence,” Moats said to Sager. “It’s never easy, never enjoyable, but always necessary.”
Moats went to on voice that he believes that overall Taylor County is a good community.
“It’s relatively safe, but people have to be accountable for their actions, and the public has to believe that they are safe in their own homes,” he expressed.
He noted that Sager had already been given a second chance in life.
“I hope that you understand that there have to be consequences for your actions,” Moats voiced. “After every storm the sun comes back out.”
Although Sager was seeking some form of continued supervised sentencing, Moats order that he would serve four years for his wanton endangerment charge and another six months for the domestic assault charge.
“Those sentences will be served concurrently, and you will be given credit for time you have already served,” Moats ordered.