Prison Terms for Drug, Property Crimes in Marshall County

MOUNDSVILLE — Circuit Judge David Hummel handed down prison sentences to several people previously convicted, including two drug offenders, and two others charged with property crimes, this week in Marshall County Circuit Court.

Amanda Barker, previously convicted of delivery of a controlled substance, was sentenced to one to five years in prison, to be served after she completes a 14-month federal prison sentence on drug charges. Barker told Hummel that she sought her prison term to be served concurrently, so she could return home to her children as quickly as possible.

Hummel, however, took a hard view on the distribution of drugs in Marshall County, especially with a repeat offender.

“Distributing controlled substances, without a license to do so, is indeed anti-societal,” Hummel said. “Frankly, there’s a pandemic amongst us, that’s robbing communities of lives and livelihoods. … Sending someone to prison is easy. Then again, so is not selling drugs.”

Also sentenced was John Lufft, convicted in December of delivery of a controlled substance in a case dating back to 2015, where he sold .3 grams of crack cocaine in the parking lot of a Moundsville business. Lufft said he views his arrest as a blessing, as he was likely to continue down a destructive path with drugs, as his cousin had died of a drug overdose.

“Regardless of what happens today, I’m ready to take full responsibility,” he added. “I look at it as a blessing that it happened. … I’ve been incarcerated 75 days, and I’ve never been clean for 75 days before. I feel great.”

Hummel sentenced Lufft to one-to-15 years in prison, citing his lifelong addiction as motivation to keep him incarcerated for long enough to tackle and overcome his addiction.

In a third case, Hummel sentenced Ashley Staggers to a minimum of one year in prison, mandatory for her conviction of third offense shoplifting, after taking $13 worth of energy drinks from the Moundsville Walmart.

Prosecutor Adam Barney admitted that Staggers was not a great threat to society, and Hummel said his hands were tied in the sentencing, pointing out that the cost of housing a prisoner vastly outweighs the fine he felt the matter deserved, by an order of magnitude.

“There has to be one year of incarceration,” Hummel said just before the sentencing. “$13.41 in energy drinks. … This should be in municipal court. This should be a fine-only penalty and you should be on your way. Instead, the state of West Virginia’s going to spend $50,000 to protect Walmart’s energy drinks.”

Finally, one man, convicted last month of stealing four tires from his place of employment, was not sentenced to prison time.

Robert Lenko, convicted of grand larceny, was fined $4,000, half of which was restitution to the business, and the other half in punitive fines.

Lenko was convicted for stealing the tires from a dealership and taking the tires to Steubenville for resale.

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