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Attempted Murder, Sexual Assault Cases Among 16 Indictments in Ohio County

Mather

WHEELING – Indictments were handed down Tuesday in Ohio County Circuit Court against 16 people, one of whom allegedly beat his girlfriend near death, and another allegedly sexually assaulted a six-year-old.

Zachary Mather, 34 of Wheeling, was charged with attempted murder, malicious assault, and strangulation — all felonies — after a domestic disturbance on Nov. 22.

According to police records, Mather allegedly beat his live-in girlfriend to such an extent that she could not speak. The woman was hospitalized and, two days later, had suffered extensive bruising to her face, head and neck. The woman’s eyes were swollen shut and she could not move her neck without screaming in pain, police said, as well as suffering numerous broken bones and a brain bleed.

Also indicted was James Johnson, 53, of Wheeling, on two counts of first-degree sexual assault. On Sept. 29, Johnson allegedly sexually assaulted a 6-year-old girl at the child’s home, allegedly caught in the act by a family friend checking on the girl at her mother’s request. Johnson was allegedly caught in the act, with his pants around his ankles, before attempting to pull his pants up while the rescuer grabbed the child and called the police.

Johnson was later arrested and allegedly told police that he had been drinking for about 10 hours prior, and that he and the child “were just having a little fun.” At the hospital, the child allegedly told police that Johnson had forced his way into her home and dragged her into the bedroom.

Also indicted were:

* Robert Watson Jr., 69 of Wheeling, three counts of failure to register as a sex offender.

* Shawn Harden, 36 of Wheeling, one count each of breaking and entering and grand larceny.

* James Spurlin, 39 of Wheeling, one count each of first-degree robbery and conspiracy.

* James Wood, 24 of Moundsville, one count each of of first-degree robbery and conspiracy.

* Walter “Fly” Morgan, 31 of Cleveland, one count each of aiding and abetting delivery of a controlled substance, delivery of a controlled substance, and conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance.

* Ashlie Waddell, 36 of Martins Ferry, two counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.

* Seth Waddell, 36 of Martins Ferry, two counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.

* Samuel Helms, 36, two counts of third offense domestic battery.

* Jacob Wilds, 41 of Wheeling, one count of third offense domestic violence.

* Brennen Smith, 23 of Wheeling, one count each of strangulation, malicious assault and unlawful restraint.

* Alonzo Curges III, 23 of Wheeling, two counts of wanton endangerment with a firearm.

* Robert Lawso, 76 of Wheeling, four counts of malicious assault.

* David Simon, 41 of Wheeling, one count each of malicious assault and one of burglary.

Those indicted will appear before Circuit Judge David Sims at 9 a.m. Wednesday, and before Judge Michael Olejasz at 10 a.m.

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