BUCKHANNON — Several defendants gathered in the Upshur County Circuit Courtroom on Wednesday, April 28 to hear the sentences handed down to them by the Honorable Judge Jake Reger, who presided over the hearings.
Jason Skinner, age 41, appeared via teleconference from Tygart Valley Regional Jail, where he has reportedly been incarcerated for the past 289 days. Skinner and his legal team previously reached a plea agreement with the state that included a recommended concurrent sentence of 1-5 years, including credit for time served, after pleading guilty to one count of domestic violence and one count of strangulation. During the hearing, the defendant’s attorney attempted to get a lighter sentence that would have included home confinement. After consideration, the motion was denied due to the prior agreement made as part of the plea deal. Skinner will remain at TVRJ for the remainder of his sentence, unless an appeal for alternative sentencing is granted in the future.
Tia D. Miller, age 23, appeared before Judge Reger for sentencing. Miller’s attorney was able to provide adequate evidence that since the initial arrest, she obtained a job and has been able to remain sober. With the help of credible letters to the Court and no objection from the state, Miller was granted 5 years probation with a possible chance of early discharge. During her term of probation, Miller will be required to pay restitution, court and legal fees, and she is prohibited from any contact with her co-defendant.
Zachariah Helmick, age 24, and his attorney appeared in court for sentencing on a grand larceny charge. Prosecuting Attorney Bryan Hinkle mentioned a positive drug test for the defendant, but Helmick denied any serious drug use. After this evidence was revealed, two of the victims were brought to the witness stand to read impact statements. The defendant was offered the choice of being transferred to the Anthony Center for Youthful Male Offenders or incarceration. After discussing the options with his representation, Helmick chose the Anthony Center and was immediately taken into custody for transport to the center. After successful completion of his rehabilitation course lasting approximately 6-18 months, Helmick is ordered to pay restitution to the victims.
According to documentation, Anthony S. Gregory, Joshua A. Tenney, and Wendy Richardson Evans all failed to appear for their scheduled sentencing hearings and capias warrants were immediately issued for their apprehension.