The Voice of West Virginia
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Listen to the third edition of ‘High School Basketball Roundup’, which airs every Saturday at 8:30am across the MetroNews Radio Network.
Braxton County, Cabell Midland and Martinsburg teams are featured and Fred Persinger discusses the third edition of the MetroNews Power Index.
LEWISBURG, W.Va. — A member of the Greenbrier County Commission told the Beckley Register-Herald Friday he’s committed no crimes in connection with information he copied from a computer hard drive from the Greenbrier Valley Airport.
Commissioner Mike McClung was charged in a prosecutor’s information earlier this week with three misdemeanor criminal counts focused on obtaining and copying information without authorization. McClung has admitted taking the information on Aug. 23, copying it and putting it back.
McClung previously told the newspaper said the information he obtained was potential evidence for an investigation of airport officials. He said he copied the information and returned it. He said he didn’t tamper with it.
McClung told the newspaper Friday part of his responsibilities as a county commissioner is to turn over evidence of wrongdoing.
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NEW RICHMOND, W.Va. — A Wyoming County man was killed in a car crash near New Richmond earlier this week.
According to authorities, Nicholas Noon, 20, of Mullens, lost control of the vehicle he was driving on state Route 10 Thursday. The car went off the road and struck a tree.
Deputies said Noon was pronounced dead at the scene. He was not wearing a seat belt.
BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. — A judge has scheduled a trial to begin May 5 for the Morgan County charged in the murder of his former girlfriend’s daughter.
Andy McCauley, 41, was arraigned in Morgan County Circuit Court Friday after his recent indictment in connection with the death of Riley Crossman.
Crossman, 15, was reported missing May 8, 2019.
Natural Resources Police found Crossman’s body on an embankment near Tuscarora Pike in Berkeley County on May 16. Drywall mud found in the bed of McCauley’s truck was similar to the drywall mud found on leaves, trees and Riley’s body. Authorities also found screws lying on a nearby road that were similar to screws found in the truck, a home where McCauley was working and on McCauley himself.
McCauley’s attorneys have a number of options before them before the upcoming trial. They could ask Circuit Judge Debra McLaughlin for a postponement or a change of venue.
McCauley remains in the Eastern Regional Jail without bail.
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Morgantown used its trademark pressure defense to put away Wheeling Park, limiting the Patriots to one fourth-quarter field goal to pull away for a 59-45 win Friday night.
The Patriots (10-3) outscored MHS 18-9 to close to within 46-40 at the end of the third quarter. But the Mohigans (11-2) got three timely three-pointers and several critical stops to regain their double-digit advantage.
The first triple came from Antonio Rollo make it 49-40. After Park’s Travis Zimmerman made 1-of-2 free throws, Morgantown reeled off eight consecutive points to put the game out of reach.
Alec Poland and Alex Rudy made back-to-back threes before two free throws from Mac McMillen allowed the Mohigans to lead 57-41.
“In the fourth, we strapped back up and they had one point most of the quarter,” Morgantown head coach Dave Tallman said. “I’m proud of that effort. We’re still not clicking or jelling all the way and I don’t want to yet.”
Not until Alex Vargo’s layup with 21 seconds left did the Patriots put home a basket during their five-point period.
“Morgantown is deep. They may not have a bonafide first-team all-state player, but they have solid balance and nine guys that are really good,” Park head coach Michael Jebbia said. “Their quickness and depth wears on you.”
The Mohigans put together a strong opening half to hold a 37-22 lead at the break.
Morgantown carried a 21-12 lead into the second quarter, before Vargo scored six points in a span of 2:56 to cut the Patriots’ deficit to 26-18.
A key stretch followed, during which Morgantown outscored Park 11-4 over the remainder of the half to hold the 15-point lead at intermission. Rollo and McMillen had consecutive triples during the surge, the latter of which made it 35-20.
Morgantown, which finished with a 40-22 rebounding advantage, controlled the boards in the opening half to the tune of a 20-8 edge.
“They were up in passing lanes and it was really difficult for us early,” Jebbia said. “We were able to settle down, but we were in such a deep hole.”
But Vargo scored nine points over the first five minutes of the third quarter, helping Park pull to within 43-35 after he converted a layup off a steal. Zimmerman’s dunk later in the quarter trimmed the Mohigans’ lead to 44-39, but Park went the next 9:27 without a field goal.
“They’re a good team. They’re going to make a run,” Tallman said. “That’s not a team you’re probably going to blow out. We let Vargo get loose a couple times and we didn’t play as hard.”
McMillen led the Mohigans’ balanced scoring attack with 12 points. Poland, Rudy and Troy Battle followed with nine points apiece.
“Troy was coming off an injury and was kind of flat the last three games, but he was old Troy tonight,” Tallman said. “It was fun to see him. I think Troy was probably our MVP.”
Vargo had a game-high 24 points, while Zimmerman finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds. The rest of Wheeling Park’s team scored only eight points on 2-of-11 shooting.
The Mohigans outscored the Patriots 18-6 from behind the arc.
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A 24-point first quarter set the tone for the Martinsburg Bulldogs as they defeated sectional rival Hedgesville 71-61 Friday at the Martinsburg Fieldhouse.
The Eagles entered the game allowing just 37 points per game and they had not yielded more than 57 points in any game this season. The Bulldogs pulled away late with a 22-point fourth quarter.
“Hedgesville does a good job of controlling tempo,” said Martinsburg head coach Dave Rogers. “The team that gets out in front and can control the tempo… it is a big thing. I just thought our kids played hard tonight. Coming off a big win Monday (at Morgantown), I was worried about a little bit of a letdown. But there wasn’t.”
Teddy Marshall scored 9 of his team-high 22 points in the opening quarter. The Bulldogs led 24-16 after the first quarter and took a 36-33 lead into halftime. The Eagles scored the first five points of the third quarter to take a 38-36 edge. But a 7-0 Martinsburg run midway through the third quarter gave the Bulldogs a lead they would not relinquish.
In addition to Marshall, three more Martinsburg players scored in double figures. Anthony Smith netted 13 while Tre Segar and Doryn Smith each added 11.
“It is a jam-packed ball game. It is heated. It is a rivalry. And I thought our kids did a great job tonight.”
Evan Hosby led the Eagles with 23 points while Javin Wilmer added 21. Hedgesville (11-3) saw their five-game win streak come to an end as they suffered their first loss to an in-state opponent.
Martinsburg (9-2) has won six consecutive games and they remain unbeaten against in-state competition. The Eagles and the Bulldogs will meet again at HHS on February 21st.
“It won’t be any different out there (at Hedgesville). It will be a big crowd. It will be aggressive. When you play Hedgesville, that is what it always is.”
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — When Bob Huggins broke into coaching in 1980, Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp stood atop the mountain for all-time wins in college basketball history — 876.
Rupp stood alone for a long time, with North Carolina’s Dean Smith needing another 17 years to surpass him.
Rupp is now seventh on the all-time list, and Huggins is poised to join him when West Virginia hosts Missouri at noon Saturday.
The game is part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge, which Huggins views as a necessity now that peer leagues like the ACC and Big Ten have moved to 20-game conference schedules.
“It’s pretty much a must for our league,” Huggins said. “We’re playing two fewer games, so it’s a way to get close to as many Power 5 games as the rest of the leagues do.”
Mizzou (9-9) is in its third season under former Purdue star Cuonzo Martin, who has also coached in three-year stints at Tennessee and Cal. For the second time in three years, Martin is without his best player for a large chunk of the season.
Two years ago it was Michael Porter Jr., the most heralded recruit in program history who is currently with the Denver Nuggets. This season the Tigers have had to play their past six games without forward Jeremiah Tilmon, who was one of the players that stepped up and helped Mizzou reach the NCAA tournament despite Porter’s absence.
The absence of the 6-foot-10 Tilmon has made the Tigers a very perimeter-oriented team. In a 66-64 loss to Texas A&M this week, Missouri attempted 35 three-pointers — but lost because it only made nine of those heaves.
The free-throw line is where the Tigers feast.
Mizzou made 54 consecutive free throws in back-to-back games against Alabama and Texas A&M, finally missing their last free throw against the Aggies to snap the NCAA-record streak, which had previously been 51.
Missouri is 77.4 percent from the line this season, which is good for 16th in the nation. West Virginia is shooting 64 percent from the line, which is 325th nationally.
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KEYSER, W.Va. — A former Mineral County chief deputy circuit clerk is due back in court next month after being charged in a prosecutor’s information Friday with embezzling money from office accounts.
Gary Duane Feaster is charged with using his position to steal more than $1,000 in public funds. A charge through information indicates Feaster is cooperating with prosecutors.
Special prosecutor Steve Conley, the director of the state Auditor’s Public Integrity and Fraud Unit, told Circuit Judge C. Carter Williams an investigation by the fraud unit determined Feaster took between $65,000 and $87,000 from the circuit clerk’s office over a three-year period.
Conley told the court Feaster used the money to fuel his alcohol and gambling problems.
Feaster was ready to enter a guilty plea to the charge Friday but instead Judge Williams, who is on the case by special assignment, arraigned Feaster and ordered a pre-sentencing report. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Feb. 17. Feaster may plead guilty in that hearing.
State Auditor J.B. McCuskey commented on the investigation that led to the charge.
“Something suspicious caught the attention of county employees, who brought it to the attention of local police, who called us in to provide the specialized financial crime investigation skills we can perform,” McCuskey said in a Friday news release. “Prosecutor Cody Pancake gladly accepted the services of our special prosecution staff who handled the case from beginning to end.”
Some of the money taken were restitution payments intended for crime victims.
McCuskey, who filed for reelection earlier this week, hinted Friday fraud cases in other counties are under investigation.
“These matters are serious and will be treated as such. You will see several more cases like this in the very near future,” McCuskey said.
Anyone with fraud information is asked to report it at (833) WV-FRAUD or the information can be posted anonymously online at www.wvsao.gov
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia lawmakers got their first look at the latest version of a proposed intermediate court.
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday afternoon heard a proposal for the court, which could hear civil cases between the circuit court and Supreme Court levels. They asked a few questions but delayed substantial discussion until Monday.
The intermediate court is a perennial at the Legislature. Observers suggest the proposal has a pretty good chance of passing the Senate this year, but wonder about support in the House of Delegates.
Price tag and whether the court is really necessary are always the big questions.
Another, according to this year’s hallway conversations, is whether the judges would be elected or appointed by the governor.
This version of the intermediate court is estimated to cost the state $6.3 million a year once it’s implemented, according to Sarah Canterbury, staff counsel for the Judiciary Committee.
That’s not a lot in the grand scheme of the $4.6 billion budget. But in a flat budget year, the spending proposal will be scrutinized.
As for whether an intermediate court is necessary, lawmakers saw a slide presentation showing a stable caseload for the current Supreme Court of Appeals.
Senator Mike Woelfel, D-Cabell, asked on Friday afternoon whether anyone from the judiciary branch is available to speak about the intermediate court.
“Is there a way we could ascertain whether the court itself or the individual justices feel like it’s needed?” he asked.
That’s part of the plan for Monday.
Earlier this month, when Chief Justice Tim Armstead made budget presentations to lawmakers, he was asked about the intermediate court.
Although Armstead was in favor of the intermediate court when he was House Speaker, he took a neutral position as a justice.
Noting that the court system’s budget proposal does not set aside money for an intermediate court, Armstead said on Jan. 13, “We are very much willing to work with the Legislature.”
The intermediate court is envisioned as two districts, northern and southern, with three judges on each panel.
The judges would be appointed by the governor — on advice and consent of the Senate — to 10-year terms. The terms would be staggered, and the judges wouldn’t be eligible for reappointment. The pay would be $130,000 a year.
Woelfel indicated he’s thinking over the power of appointment.
“The way it’s set up we’re going to trust the governor, whoever the governor is, to appoint those people.”
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin says the impeachment case presented by House managers in this week’s trial in the U.S. Senate has been “quite eye-opening.”
Manchin telling reporters in a hastily called Friday late morning conference call that he has taken in lots of information presented on the two articles of impeachment.
“The extensive amounts and the repetitiveness we’ve seen from different points of view have given us a different perspective that we didn’t have, that I didn’t have,” Manchin said.
Manchin indicated Friday he favors additional witnesses being called after President Trump’s team delivers its opening statement and senators have an opportunity to ask questions. Manchin said witnesses will lend to a fair trial.
“In order to keep our country united and uphold the people’s faith and trust and the standing we have in the world as the superpower of the world, I think it’s extremely important that we have a fair trial,” Manchin said. “And a fair trial means having all of the pertinent information that’s available, that we know is out there, come forth and those people who have first-hand knowledge be able to speak up.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito said Friday she hasn’t made up her mind about witnesses.
“This case is based on the information and the facts the House presents. If the House didn’t call John Bolton when they had the opportunity, I don’t think it is the Senate’s prerogative to call John Bolton,” Capito said during an appearance on WAJR’s Talk of the Town with Dave & Sarah Friday.
Friday marked the third day of arguments by House impeachment managers making their case that the president should be removed from office for abusing his power and obstructing congress.
Last month, the House approved articles of impeachment stemming from a phone call between Trump and Ukraine’s leader, in which Trump requested an investigation into his political rivals, including former Vice President Joe Biden. The president also withheld aid to Ukraine, which required congressional intervention to overturn.
Members of the House also allege that during the chamber’s investigation, Trump prevented officials from testifying and blocked documents.
“I haven’t heard much new. What I heard coming out of the House investigation is pretty much what I’ve heard,” Capito stated.
And she’s heard it over and over during sessions lasting between 10 and 12 hours each day.
“Honestly it has been a lot of repetitiveness. They’ve played video clips, the same ones, seven, eight, nine times to make the same points,” Capito said.
Manchin called the trial “extremely serious.”
“I have never been a juror. I’ve never been called to jury duty. This is truly a unique opportunity,” Manchin said.
Both senators said they were looking forward to hear the Trump defense which is scheduled to begin Saturday.
“I haven’t heard the president being able to defend himself to knock down any of the details or the facts,” Capito said.
Manchin said the House has done its job and now it’s time for the Senate to do what it’s charged to do.
“So I’m going to make sure that we do everything humanly possible to make an informed decision. That means having witnesses that we know had first-hand knowledge,” Manchin said.
MetroNews Reporter Dave Wilson contributed to this story.
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