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Walker, Gust arraigned in escape attempt

June 15, 2013
By ROBERT A. DEFRANK - Times Leader Staff Writer , Times Leader

ST. CLAIRSVILLE Arraignments were conducted Thursday at Belmont County Common Pleas Court, where two people pleaded not guilty in charges related to an attempted escape in Bellaire. Judge Jennifer L. Sargus presided.

Sylvester Eugene Walker, 21, incarcerated, pleaded not guilty of escape, a felony of the fifth degree, complicity, a felony of the first degree, trafficking in drugs, a felony of the fifth degree with a forfeiture specification of $1,892, and vandalism, a felony of the fifth degree, all occurring May 9, 2013. His pre-trial was set for July 8, with plea agreement July 22 and trial July 23. Bond was continued at $500,000.

His co-defendant, Nicole Marie Gust, 20, 3109 Washington St., Bellaire, pleaded not guilty to one count of complicity, a felony of the fifth degree, one count of felonious assault, a felony of the first degree, one count trafficking in drugs, a felony of the fifth degree with a forfeiture specification of $1,892. Pre-trial was set for July 8, with plea agreement July 22 and trial July 25. Bond was set at $20,000.

Article Photos

T-L?Photo/ROBERT?A. DEFRANK
NICOLE?MARIE?Gust, 20, appears in Belmont County Common Pleas Court on Thursday.

In early May, Walker appeared in Eastern Court on charges relating to a raid conducted by the Belmont County Drug Task Force in April. During his arraignment, Walker was ordered detained on outstanding warrants and attempted to flee the scene with Gust, who was waiting in a vehicle outside the building.

A deputy discharged his weapon in disabling the vehicle and Walker was subdued.

Prosecutor Chris Berhalter said Walker's complicity charge was equal to felonious assault.

The vandalism charge reportedly arose from the damage done during the escape attempt.

"These charges are very serious. You're looking at felonious assault where the allegations are that they put officers' health and/or lives at risk," he said. "The charge itself is a felony of the first degree, which carries with it a maximum sentence of 11 years in prison."

Berhalter added that the high bond was appropriate. He said the state holds that Walker was the ringleader in an escape attempt utilizing a car at high speed.

"His bond remains at $500,000, something we agree with. The allegations themselves are extremely serious and including putting officers' safety at risk," he said.

During arraignment, Walker's defense relayed a claim that he was a passenger and not the driver of the vehicle.

In other matters, Gay Denise Skolnik, 41, 71430 Hall St., St. Clairsville, was sentenced on one count of DUI, a felony of the fourth degree occurring March 12, 2013. She will spend six months in EOCC as part of a partially suspended sentence of 18 months.

James Christopher Spears, 38, 307 Sinclair Avenue, Yorkville, pleaded not guilty on two counts of trafficking in drugs, felonies of the fourth and fifth degree occurring June 5, 2012. Status conference was set for July 19, with plea agreement Aug. 2 and trial Aug. 20. Bond was continued at $10,000.

Michael Dwayne Rhodes, 43, 64691 Bel-Capre Addition, Bellaire, pleaded not guilty of possession of drugs, a felony of the fifth degree occurring Feb. 24, 2013. Status conference was set for June 21, with plea agreement deadline July 19 and trial Aug. 1. Bond was set at $2,500.

Holly Jo Logan, 32, 116 Pointissia Road, Scio, pleaded not guilty to unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a felony of the third degree occurring Dec. 1, 2012. Status conference was set for June 21, with plea agreement Aug. 2 and trial Aug. 13. Recognizance bond was continued.

Damian Kingsly Therrien, 19, incarcerated, pleaded not guilty to one count felonious assault, a felony of the second degree occurring March 23, 2013. Pre-trial was set for June 24, with plea agreement July 8 and status conference July 11. Bond of $50,000 was continued.

Edward Whitmore Davis, 46, 55370 Coleraine Pike, Martins Ferry, pleaded not guilty to one count burglary, a felony of the second degree, and two counts theft, felonies of the third and fourth degrees, all occurring March 28, 2013. Pre-trial was set for June 24, with plea agreement July 8 and trial July 18. Bond of $25,000 was continued.

Alicia Joan Burch, 24, 521 Sheets St., Martins Ferry, pleaded not guilty to one count trafficking in drugs, a felony of the fourth degree, and offenses involving counterfeit controlled substances, a felony of the fifth degree, both occurring March 22, 2013. Pre-trial was set for Aug. 5, plea agreement was set for Sept. 3 and trial was set for Sept. 12. His recognizance bond was continued.

Ronnie Lee Oliver, 23, incarcerated, pleaded not guilty to two counts of theft, fourth and fifth degree felonies occurring May 5 and April 30, 2012, and two counts breaking and entering, felonies of the fifth degree occurring April 30 and May 5, 2012. Pre-trial was set for June 24, with plea agreement July 8 and trial July 16. Bond was set at $5,000.

Christopher Schramm, 29, 401 N. Zane Highway, Martins Ferry, pleaded not guilty of one count gross sexual imposition, a felony of the third degree occurring Aug. 1, 2011. Status conference was set for July 12, with plea agreement Aug. 2 and trial Aug. 8. His bond of $10,000 was continued.

Warrants were issued for:

Casey Glenn Warnock, 31, 1153 National Road, Wheeling.

Russell Eugene Barlow, 40, 1504 Oakwood Avenue, Columbus.

Danielle Marie Crooks, 29, 68381 Patterson Road, Bridgeport.

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com

 
 

 

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