Felon faces series of new charges


BUCKHANNON — A convicted felon from Buckhannon was charged with a series of new crimes Thursday. Billy Keyser, age 35, now stands accused of driving with a revoked license (DUI 3rd offense), being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm, and possession of meth and heroin, following a traffic stop.

The criminal complaint stated that Trooper John Tonkin observed a white Volkswagen Jetta traveling north on the Vicksburg Road displaying an improper motor vehicle inspection. He then conducted a traffic stop at the Vicksburg Food Mart and identified the driver as Billy Keyser. The officer said he spotted a silver and black handgun located between the driver’s seat and center console, so he pulled Keyser out of the car and instructed the passenger, Ashley Bennett, to exit the car as well. After removing the individuals from the vehicle, the officer retrieved the Lorcin .380 caliber handgun and proceeded to initiate a pat down on Keyser.

During the search, the officer observed a protrusion from the accused’s front left pocket. He obtained consent from Keyser to further search inside of his pockets, which revealed a white film can containing two clear plastic baggies – one with a brown powder-like substance and the other contained four orange pills and one orange strip with N8 imprinted on both. Keyser reportedly informed the officer that the brown substance was heroin and said the orange pills and the strip were Suboxone.

Senior Trooper Robinette arrived on scene to assist and performed a second search on the accused, which yielded two more baggies that contained a white crystal-like substance in Keyser’s other front pocket. The officer performed a search of the vehicle to find a backpack carrying another two clear plastic baggies holding a green leafy substance that was believed to be marijuana. 

Upon processing Keyser’s identification card, the Upshur County Comm Center soon advised that his license had been revoked due to DUI, with a conviction for a second offense on Oct. 31, 2016. A review of the accused’s criminal history showed Keyser had multiple drug-related charges in the past. During the officers’ discussion with Keyser, he acknowledged a lengthy history of drug abuse after reportedly suffering from a family trauma and said he has used both methamphetamine and heroin to cope. 

Keyser was jailed that evening and remains in custody at Tygart Valley Regional Jail. Magistrate Kay Hurst set a combined bond in the amount of $15,000. He reportedly has pending charges out of Lewis County as well.

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