2013-09-05 / Local & State

Court Session Held August 27


Judge Angela R. Krom of the 39th Judicial District and the Fulton/Franklin County Court of Common Pleas presided over a court session held on Tuesday, August 27, at the Fulton County Courthouse.

 Rebecca Lynn Burke failed to appear in court for sentencing on charges related to the corruption of minors and the theft of DVDs from the Fulton County Library. Burke, according to Fulton County Public Defender Dwight Harvey, had contacted his office the prior week to alert him of an emergency, outpatient surgery on August 23. He was unable to speak with her last Tuesday, and a bench warrant was issued for her arrest.

 Robert Allen Helsel IV was sentenced to between 30 months and seven years in a state correctional institution in connection with driving under the influence of a controlled substance, endangering the welfare of children and two summary offenses. He will pay $3,700 in fines, various court fees and will undergo any required drug and alcohol treatment and random testing. He will be eligible for participation in the RRRI program.

Fulton County District Attorney Travis Kendall noted the most compelling part of the case was Helsel’s history of alcohol and substance abuse and seven driving under-the-influence arrests that spanned both Texas and Bedford and Fulton counties.

 Jennifer Marie Strait was scheduled to report to the Franklin County Jail on Friday, August 30, to begin a 15-weekend sentence for driving under the influence of alcohol. She will pay a $750 fine, participation in alcohol highway safety school and complete 20 hours of community service.

 James Benjamin Chesnut waived his right to formal arraignment and entered guilty pleas to retail theft and driving under a suspended license(DUI related). Chesnut told the court that on July 30 he took $89 in gasoline after driving to the Giant in McConnellsburg. He said he had little recollection of the incident as he’s been drinking and using Xanax.

Chesnut was sentenced to 60 days in the Franklin County Jail for driving on a suspended license, which will be served at the expiration of a previously imposed sentence for drunk driving. He will pay a $500 fine. A concurrent sentence of 24 months probation and 20 hours of community service was also ordered for retail theft. Restitution was ordered for Giant as well as $100 to Fulton County.

 William Carl Drenning appeared in court last Tuesday and waived his right to formal arraignment on three counts each of terroristic threats, recklessly endangering another person, harassment and one count of simple assault. Drenning pleaded guilty to terroristic threats and simple assault and was released immediately to 36 months probation, which will include three months of SCRAM monitoring and six months of intense supervision. He will pay $300 to Fulton County and a monthly supervision fee.

Drenning told the court his arrest stemmed from an incident on August 9 during which he threatened to shoot his mother and her boyfriend with a gun. Both victims were in court and supported Drenning’s return to their residence.

 Erica Ann Lund waived her right to mandatory arraignment on charges of burglary, criminal trespassing and theft. She entered a notguilty plea and will reappear in court on October 8 for call of the criminal trial list.

 Justin Wayne Reed appeared for entry of a guilty plea and sentencing on one count of cruelty to animals, which resulted in a 24-month probationary period and 40 hours of community service. He will pay $300 to Fulton County, a $1,000 fine and a monthly supervision fee. As part of the sentencing conditions, Reed will be unable to own a domesticated animal for the duration of his sentence.

Reed told the court that on March 20 he killed two housecats over a break-up with his then girlfriend. While he said he was under the influence and could not recall the details of what happened, the court learned digital photos of the cats were sent to the victim.

 Mathew A. Seville waived his right to mandatory arraignment and pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining foodstamps/assistance. Seville said he hauled scrap metal and failed to report the almost $10,000 in income to the assistance office. He was sentenced to 24 months probation as well as restitution, $100 to Fulton County, and a monthly supervision fee. His participation in probation can be terminated early if the sums owed are paid in full.

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