Verdict expected in Weigle appeal

PARKERSBURG – After a day of testimony Wednesday, a decision is expected this morning in the appeal of a magistrate court verdict against Vienna businessman Jim Weigle.

In April 2010 Weigle was arrested after a traffic stop on Grand Central Avenue where he was charged with obstruction during the Vienna Road Run near the 34th Street intersection.

In Wednesday’s hearing before Wood County Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Reed, Weigle’s attorney, John Triplett, said the state had failed to show what constitutes obstruction. Triplett said Weigle was within his rights to refuse to give police officers his identification until they answered his questions as to why they wanted his identification.

Assistant Prosecutor Nancy McGhee said Weigle’s actions in trying to leave the scene of questioning without permission were one of the acts. Triplett said the officer who pulled Weigle over and questioned him, Vienna Police Sgt. R.L. Pifer, testified he did not remember if he told Weigle he was detained.

Triplett said Weigle actually assisted police when he did pull over, produced his identification and admitted he honked the horn of his car one time. Triplett said the best evidence from the state shows someone farther back from Weigle did honk a car horn at least three times, but it was not Weigle.

McGhee said another action of obstruction occurred when Weigle did not pull over when initially instructed. She said the statute does not allow for multiple chances to comply. She said Pifer motioned for Weigle to pull over three times before he complied.

Triplett said there was an issue as to whether the City of Vienna has the right to close Grand Central Avenue, which is controlled by the state because it is also West Virginia 14, for a private function like the Vienna Road Run.

Reed said the statute was vague and added there was evidence if the police motioned for Weigle to pull over on separate occasions or if the motion for him to pull over was a continuous motion by the officer while the driver was maneuvering to pull off to the side of the road.

Reed said due to the length of the hearing he would recess court until 9:30 a.m. and he would announce his verdict Thursday.

According to the complaint filed in the case, a person in a car in the southbound lane was honking his horn for a long time and an officer went back to speak with the driver, who was Weigle. The report states Weigle refused to give Pifer his license when requested.

“He was directed to pull over,” the complaint states. “The suspect complied and used coarse language about how he felt being detained by the Vienna Road Race.”

In other circuit court hearings:

  • Victoria Allyn Conley, also known as Victoria Burleson, 25, in custody at the North Central Regional Jail, did not waive extradition to Oswego County, New York. Judge Robert Waters granted a motion from the defense for bond with home confinement and a state motion for the home confinement to include GPS tracking. Waters set bond at $5,000. She is set for a status hearing at 9:30 a.m. May 16. New York authorities allege she violated terms of her probation.
  • Brandon Michael Burdette, 20, in custody at the North Central Regional Jail, was set for a sentencing date after he was expelled from the West Central Drug Court. Burdette was referred to adult probation for a presentencing investigation. A defense motion for probation, home confinement or the Anthony Center was taken under advisement. He was remanded to custody to await sentencing at 9:30 a.m. June 23 before Waters.