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Buckhannon man who allegedly kicked in apartment door arrested for burglary

BUCKHANNON – An Upshur County man was arrested for burglary over the weekend after he allegedly attempted to flee from police following a traffic stop.

Jesse T. Miller, 32, of Buckhannon, was arrested Friday, Nov. 1 for burglary, a felony; violation of a protective order, a misdemeanor; and fleeing on foot, a misdemeanor. Court records also indicate two capiases had been issued for Miller.

According to the criminal complaint filed by investigating officer Senior Trooper P.J. Robinette with the Buckhannon detachment of the West Virginia State Police, just after 7:30 p.m. Friday, Robinette and Trooper J.S. Tonkin were conducting routine road patrol on Vicksburg Road.

At 7:38 p.m., Robinette initiated a traffic stop on a white 2004 Chevrolet Astro van for defective registration lights. Robinette made contact with a male driver, who stated he did not possess a valid driver’s license, according to the complaint.

Robinette then reportedly spotted Miller sitting in the back seat of the vehicle. The report said Robinette knew Miller from dealing with him on multiple calls “throughout his career in Upshur County.” Robinette was also aware of several active warrants for Miller’s arrest that had been issued in the county, the complaint says.

Robinette instructed Miller to exit the vehicle so Tonkin could place him under arrest. Miller subsequently exited the vehicle and allegedly began running away from Tonkin when the officer attempted to place in him hand restraints, the complaint states. Robinette and Tonkin pursued Miller on foot, while ordering him to stop verbally multiple times, Robinette wrote in the report.

According to the file, Robinette observed Miller fall once while running, at which point Tonkin tried to grab him. Miller struggled away from Tonkin and continued to run. Then, Miller turned around and began running toward Robinette, at which point Robinette “tackled him to the ground and subdued him long enough for Tonkin to place him into hand restraints without further incident,” Robinette wrote.

Warrants for burglary, violation of a protection order, unlawful restraint and driving revoked DUI were served on Miller, the report says.

The burglary charge stems from a separate criminal complaint filed Oct. 21 by Deputy Tyler Gordon with the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department.

According to that report, on Oct. 21, Gordon responded to a call for service regarding an active burglary at a residence on Caswell Street. Gordon arrived on scene and saw the door to the apartment where the victim resides kicked in and damaged.

The victim identified Miller as the person allegedly responsible for kicking in the door and entering the residence. Gordon’s report notes Miller was, at the time, on probation for an unlawful restraint conviction in Upshur County dated Jan. 24, 2019.

Miller allegedly fled the residence prior to Gordon’s arrival, the report says.

The victim told Gordon that Miller was at the residence prior to these events. She said Miller allegedly kicked open the door to the apartment and entered, at which point the victim grabbed her toddler son, took him into the bathroom with her and locked the door. Miller then allegedly forcibly entered the residence in violation of the protective order, the file says.

A witness told police he’d seen Miller outside the residence for over an hour prior to the incident while he was fixing the deadbolt of an apartment door.

Bail was set at $35,000.

The penalty for a conviction of burglary is confinement for one to 15 years in the state penitentiary, while the penalty for a conviction of violation of a protective order is confinement in jail for one day up to one year, with actual confinement of not less than 24 hours and a fine ranging between $250 to $2,000.

Finally, the penalty for a conviction of fleeing on foot is a fine ranging from $50 to $500, confinement in jail for up to one year or both.

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