BUCKHANNON – Twenty-sixth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Kurt Hall on Monday granted a continuance in Upshur County Circuit Court in the case of a woman who pleaded guilty to a drug-related charge in August 2018 but then absconded from the court’s supervision.
Thirty-two-year-old Vanessa Fay Logan, of Buckhannon, then told her attorney, Dennis Willet, that she had “an issue” with the way in which the plea agreement was executed and requested that Willett review an audio CD of the plea hearing, which took place Aug. 19, 2018.
Logan appeared in Upshur County Circuit Court Monday for a sentencing hearing regarding two charges on which she’d been indicted – one charge of conspiracy to delivery of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, a felony, and one charge of delivery of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, also a felony.
The alleged charges stemmed from an incident that allegedly occurred Aug. 18, 2017, according to a criminal complaint filed at the Upshur County Courthouse on Jan. 12, 2018. Logan was indicted on both counts by an Upshur County Grand Jury in May 2018.
Logan is currently being held on a cash-only bond of $150,000 at the Tygart Valley Regional Jail on unrelated charges of second-degree murder related to the fatal shooting of Spencer Zoller, 49, which allegedly occurred Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, at a residence on Gum Road in the Crystal Springs area of Randolph County.
Hall said Logan entered into a plea agreement regarding the drug-related charges Aug. 19, 2018, on the felony offense of conspiracy. He said the court had ordered a pre-sentence investigation at that time, and he said that was completed and filed with the court in September 2018.
“After that, the defendant absconded from the court’s supervision,” Hall said. “We issued a capias on Oct. 4, 2018. The defendant didn’t appear for her sentencing. I do not know when she was picked up. The matter was set again for Jan. 29 but was continued.”
Willett said Logan has charges pending in Randolph County. He also said she had “an issue” with the Aug. 19, 2018, hearing; as a result, Willett asked for the matter to be continued and asked for a copy of the CD transcript from Logan’s plea hearing.
“She has discussed with me some irregularities that popped up during her plea hearing,” Willett said. “She would like for me to review that hearing and listen to the tape CD of that hearing.”
Hall asked Willett how long Logan had been in custody and he said she has been in custody since Nov. 27, 2018.
“This is April 29,” Hall questioned. “Did she just think of this yesterday? What’s the deal?”
Willett said Logan’s plea was not what she had bargained for. He said given Logan’s concerns, he feels obligated to review the CD of the hearing.
Hall asked Upshur County Prosecuting Attorney David E. Godwin what his position was on Willett’s request, and Godwin said he felt the continuance was okay because she is being held in custody by another county.
“I am going to order that she be held without bail on this matter as well based on the capias of this court on failure to appear,” Hall said.
Hall set Logan’s next hearing for the beginning of June and asked Willett to file any other motions at least 20 days before the next hearing; he also asked Godwin to file any responses to any motions no later than 10 days before the next hearing.
Neither Godwin or Willett had any objections or corrections to the pre-sentencing report on Logan.