BUCKHANNON — On Tuesday, April 19, Tylor James Arbogast, age 29 of Buckhannon, appeared in person to the Upshur County Circuit Court to enter his plea of guilty as previously determined in court on Wednesday, April 13.
Arbogast had received numerous charges following an incident on Thursday, May 6, 2021. Arbogast damaged a truck by smashing in the windshield, as well as busting the side window. During the event, Arbogast was also seen fleeing from an active fire that destroyed the Holly Apartment complex in Adrian and was charged with felony destruction of property, in addition to misdemeanors, including battery on a government official, assault and obstructing an officer
During his last time in court, on Wednesday, April 13 in which Arbogast had appeared virtually, he deferred undergoing a second psychological evaluation. In the initial evaluation performed by Dr. Rush, it was determined that there was an issue of diminished capacity as the defendant was under the influence of methamphetamines during the incident on Thursday, May 6, 2021. Also, during the defendants last proceeding in court, he opted to proceed with a plea deal, in which he would plead guilty to the felony offense and the remaining misdemeanors would be dismissed.
Arbogast appeared in-person as ordered to enter his plea deal in front of Judge Kurt Hall. Also in court was Brian Hinkle representing the prosecution and James Hawkins Jr. representing the defense. Prior to entering his plea deal Arbogast was sworn in. Judge Hall then proceeded to ask Arbogast numerous questions and ask if Arbogast fully understood what he was doing and if he was satisfied with the plea agreement. Arbogast responded that he understood the aspect of pleading guilty but had stated “not really” in regard to his satisfaction in the plea deal.
Judge Hall provided further details and clarification regarding the plea deal and possible penalties. In summation, Chapter 61 of West Virginia state code revealed, “Any person who unlawfully, willfully and intentionally destroys, injures or defaces the real or personal property of one or more other persons or entities during the same act, series of acts or course of conduct causing a loss in the value of the property in an amount of $2,500 or more, is guilty of the felony offense of destruction of property and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $2,500 or imprisoned in the state correctional facility for not less than one year nor more than ten years, or in the discretion of the court, confined in the county or regional jail not more than one year, or both fined and imprisoned.”
Judge Hall reiterated the aspects of the plea deal and confirmed that Arbogast understood. Arbogast noted he did understand. Furthermore, as part of the plea deal, the defendant had to provide the court with a factual basis of why he is guilty. Arbogast spoke of his acts following confirmation of his understanding and his written plea agreement and signature. Arbogast told the court how he damaged the truck and had bitten a fireman in the stomach during the events on Thursday, May 6, 2021. Arbogast further stated that although he was under the influence of methamphetamines, he knew his actions were wrong.
Arbogast was also educated by Judge Hall that his guilty plea was accepted by the court and that, in finalizing the plea, Arbogast was waiving his right to a possible defense of diminished capacity, as well as giving up the right to a trial and the ability to confront his accusers, challenge evidence and giving up the right to an appeal. Judge Hall confirmed with Arbogast that the defendant had enough time to think about his guilty plea and the consequences.
Arbogast has now officially been convicted of a felony offense for destruction of property and revealed to the court he has a prior felony conviction. Judge Hall provided education on felony and noted that West Virginia is a three-strike law. This means that if a person is convicted of three certain types of felonies over a 20-year period, he or she can be sentenced to a term of 15 years to life in prison. Also convicted felons cannot have access to firearms or even have ammunition in their possession. Convicted felons cannot hold public office, as well as many other types of jobs. Arbogast will also be ordered to pay court costs and restitution. Arbogast noted he understood all the provided education.
Arbogast wanted to be sentenced while in court this session and understood that he may get time served. He also questioned if he could be sentenced this session with serving one year in a regional jail. Judge Hall further educated Arbogast that part of his plea agreement is to have a pre-sentencing investigation that will determine if Arbogast is a candidate for probation or alternative sentencing. Arbogast again noted he understood these conditions.
Judge Hall put on the record that the court accepted the plea deal as indicated with the defendant willfully and intentionally pleading guilty voluntarily and of his own free will. Arbogast will remain in custody at this time with his sentencing scheduled for Monday, June 6 at 9 a.m.