Washington County grand jury issues indictments

MARIETTA – A Marietta man who was found bloodied and confused in a Third Street apartment without the owner’s permission was one of 18 people indicted by a Washington County grand jury.

Ira D. Blair Jr., 28, who is incarcerated in the Washington County Jail, was indicted on a fourth-degree felony of burglary.

Blair was charged with burglary for breaking into 423 Third St. on April 2, Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider.

On the same day, a dead body was found inside Blair’s residence at 139 Groves Ave. Police have since been investigating the death of 68-year-old Frank B. Stephens as a homicide.

Officials have declined to say whether they believe Blair has any involvement in the death.

Blair was found in an upstairs bedroom of 423 Third St. by the building’s owner, David Martin. Martin does not stay at the residence, but decided to check the building that day after receiving an anonymous phone call that Trent Mason was dealing drugs there, according to Martin’s testimony during an earlier preliminary hearing.

Instead of finding Mason, Martin found Blair, asleep and bleeding profusely.

Blair told officers from the Marietta Police Department that he had gotten permission to sleep there from Martin’s daughter, 23-year-old Ali. However, Ali denied giving him permission and phone records showed Blair had not called her at the time he indicated.

Mason, 24, also was indicted on two fourth-degree felony drug trafficking charges. He is accused of selling heroin to task force agents on Jan. 12 and 14, once in the Kroger parking lot and once at his residence at 711 Front St., said Schneider.

“Mason was already indicted last month and that charge is set for trial in June,” he said.

The earlier charge alleges Mason was stockpiling chemicals to be used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Mason is being held without bond at the Washington County Jail.

“He is in violation of his judicial release. He was in prison in 2010, but (Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed) Lane granted him release and since he violated that he’s been ordered held without bond,” said Schneider.

Other indictments included:

* Timothy C. Workman, 29 and currently incarcerated in the Washington County Jail, was indicted on a second-degree felony count of burglary. He is accused of trying to steal from a Belpre home on April 4.

* Nickie J. Myers, 39, of 413 Third St., Marietta, was indicted on a third-degree felony count of gross sexual imposition. Myers is accused of engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct with his girlfriend’s 12-year-old niece on Feb. 9.

* David W. Stratton, 57, and Kimberly S. Bechak, 42, both of 2228 Sealy Ridge Road, Vincent, were each indicted on one third-degree felony count of cultivation of marijuana and one third-degree felony count of possession of marijuana.

“There is a protection order against Mr. Stratton so when he went to get his stuff from Ms. Bechak’s home, a deputy accompanied him out there,” explained Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Jared Erb.

The deputy smelled marijuana and Bechak informed him that Stratton had been growing marijuana plants in the former couple’s bedroom closet, said Erb.

Because the plants were in Bechak’s home, she was also charged with possession and cultivation.

“She ratted herself out basically,” said Erb.

* Freddy D. Taylor, 42, of 729 Ninth St., Marietta, was indicted on one fourth-degree and one fifth-degree felony count of trafficking in drugs and two fifth-degree felony counts of possession of drugs. Taylor is accused of selling heroin to undercover agents from the Major Crimes Task Force on Dec. 3 and 5. On one occasion, Taylor sold the drugs in the presence of his girlfriend’s minor children, resulting in the fourth-degree felony, said Schneider.

When the task force executed a search warrant at Taylor’s home on Dec. 27, they found Taylor at a table with Russell C. Beardsley, 38, of 19580 State Route 550, Marietta, who was shooting up heroin at the time.

“He had the syringe in his hand and the belt around his arm,” said Schneider.

Beardsley was therefore indicted on a fifth-degree felony count of possession of drugs.

Taylor’s possession charges come from the heroin and a morphine tablet found in the home.

* William G. Surface, 32, of 600 Heath Road Drive Unit 1083, Myrtle Beach, S.C., was indicted on a third-degree felony count of intimidation. Surface was arrested March 30 for disorderly conduct because he was allegedly drunkenly harassing people at Peebles in Marietta. In the police vehicle, Surface reportedly told the officer that he was going to shoot up the police office because he disagreed with being arrested.

“He said he was going to get all the police with his .308 rifle and his M16,” said Schneider.

* Jesse S. Lyons, 34, and Jennifer Lyons, 32, both of 3100 Highland Ridge Road, Lowell, were each indicted on a fifth-degree felony count of theft. The Lyons are accused of defrauding the Washington County Department of Job and Family Services out of $6,700 by failing to report that Jesse Lyons had gotten a new job. They allegedly collected the extra benefits from February 2011 to June 2011.

“They would not have received those benefits if he had reported his job,” said Erb.

* In another case involving the misuse of public assistance, Missi A. Scott, 41, of 5355 State Route 26, Marietta, was indicted on two fifth-degree felony counts of forgery and a fourth-degree felony count of theft. Scott is also accused of not reporting an increase in income.

“But this wasn’t just a case of forgetting to tell them,” said Erb.

Scott allegedly forged her direct deposit printouts and letters from her employee, which indicated she was working fewer hours than she actually was. Between March 2011 and June 2012, she is thought to have received $9,700 in benefits to which she was not entitled, said Erb.

* David L. McPherson II, 35, of Route 2 Box 1M, Waverly, W.Va., was indicted on two fourth-degree felony counts of vehicular assault. McPherson was allegedly drunk when he crashed head on into another vehicle in Belpre on Nov. 17, injuring a 7-year-old girl and her grandmother.

McPherson was previously indicted in relation to the accident in December. However, those third-degree felony counts of aggravated vehicular assault had to be dismissed because the blood work for the OVI was done out of state and therefore could not be used to prove the crash was the result of drunk driving, said Erb.

The blood work can however be used to show that McPherson’s wreck was the result of recklessness, so the case was re-indicted. It showed McPherson’s blood alcohol content to be .354 percent at the time of the crash, said Erb.

* Justin M. Hashman, 29, of 1011 32nd St., Parkersburg, was indicted on two fourth-degree felony counts of theft. Hashman, who was formerly employed as a nurse at Marietta Memorial Hospital, is accused of stealing drugs from the hospital’s automated drug dispensing system. The hospital noticed discrepancies in January and February involving vials of liquid morphine and hydromorphone pills, said Schneider. Hashman had worked at the hospital two years prior to being dismissed for the incident, he said.

“There was no indication that patients were deprived of their medicine,” he added.

However, drugs were missing without documentation to prove that they had ever been prescribed by a doctor.

* Stacy R. Thompson, 32, of 3819 Liberty St., Parkersburg, was indicted on a fourth-degree felony count of trafficking in drugs and a fifth-degree felony count of trafficking in drugs. Thompson, who currently has separate drug charges pending in Washington County Common Pleas Court, is accused of selling heroin to task force agents on Jan. 14 and 28. One sale was in the Kroger parking lot. The other was within 1,000 feet of Harmar Elementary School, resulting in the fourth-degree felony, said Schneider.

* Alisha J. O’Connor, 33, of 715 Camden Ave., Parkersburg, was indicted on a fourth-degree felony count of domestic violence. O’Connor, who has a previous misdemeanor charge of domestic violence, is accused of showing up at her husband’s place of employment and hitting him until he was forced to lock himself inside the business, said Erb.

* William C. Sprouse, 29, of 155 Wisconsin Ave., Columbus, was indicted on one fifth-degree felony count of nonsupport of dependents. He is accused of not paying child support between January 2009 to January 2013, falling behind $2,400 on his payments.

* Duane E. Hough II, 38, of 8415 State Route 550, Vincent, was indicted on a fourth-degree misdemeanor count of unauthorized use of property. Hough is accused of using a gun that he did not have permission to use.