Cops and Courts

Monongalia County grand jury returns nearly 150 indictments

The second grand jury of 2023 for Monongalia County, held May 10-12, returned 149 indictments for 122 individuals.  

An indictment is not a finding of guilt, but a notice of criminal charges being brought against an individual or individuals. To indict, a prosecutor must present evidence to a grand jury who then review the evidence to determine whether probable cause exists that the accused committed the crime. If a majority of grand jurors agree probable cause exists, an indictment is issued. 

This was the first grand jury for newly appointed prosecutor Gabrielle Mucciola. 

May’s indictments include a variety of criminal offenses ranging from violent crimes such as attempted murder, malicious assault, domestic violence and sexual assault, to non-violent crimes like shoplifting and fraud. 

Those indictments include several individuals facing charges for threat of terrorist acts, including Paul Vincent Wilburn who allegedly threatened to get a firearm and shoot two deputy clerks at the Morgantown Municipal Court. Tristan S. Nutter is also facing terrorist threat charges after allegedly leaving a voicemail for staff a J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital threatening to “bring a sawed-off shotgun” into the hospital. 

Emmanuel Jones was indicted for both threat of terrorist acts and retaliation against a public official after allegedly making several Facebook posts and messages threatening violence to the Monongalia County Family Court. He also directly mentioned Family Court Judge Randall Minor after a December 2022 family court hearing. Each of the threatening posts and messages included a photo of convicted murderer John Allen Muhammad, also known as the D.C. Sniper. 

Malicious assault and attempted murder charges were brought against Richard Howard Clemons who allegedly stabbed victim Albert Nyambati Ondieki with a knife multiple times inside a storage unit with the intent to kill him. 

Bobby Martell Taylor, also known as “Tommy,” faces three counts of malicious assault for allegedly stabbing two victims with a bladed weapon, one of whom was stabbed in the head/face as well as in the back. 

Three individuals, Isaiah Antonk, Deaven Lamb, and Sarah Sherman, are accused of conspiracy to commit a felony and concealment of a deceased human body after one or more of them is thought to have put a deceased body – where the death occurred as a result of criminal activity – in a vehicle and then left the vehicle at a location on Dry Run Road. 

Multiple indictments for drug related crimes were issued with the majority concerning possession with the intent to distribute controlled substances such as marijuana, fentanyl, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and others. 

Domestic violence, sexual assault and abuse, and child neglect were among the most common charges indicted. Due to recent legislation in the state, details of these types of crimes are no longer available for public view in an effort to protect the victims’ identities. 

Those indicted will now begin their criminal defense starting with an arraignment hearing. Many of the cases will likely end in a plea bargain – the U.S. Department of Justice states that while there are no exact estimates of cases that are resolved through plea bargaining, scholars estimate that about 90 to 95 percent of both federal and state court cases are resolved through plea bargains. Those that continue to trial will have their case heard and decided by a jury of their peers.