County court to be busy this week

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Lawrence County Common Pleas Court

will be crowded this week.

A West Virginia man accused of the stabbing death of a Chesapeake man, a Columbus woman charged with drug trafficking and a Willow Wood man charged in connection with a traffic fatality in Ironton earlier this year are scheduled to appear this week in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court for pretrial hearings.

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Jason Heath Burks, 29, of Huntington, W.Va., will appear in court today for a pretrial conference. Burks is charged with murder in connection with the October 2004 death of Jon Wilson, of Plumbley Trailer Park, County Road 1.

It was one of several violent deaths that occurred in Lawrence County in a two-month period last year.

"This is a serious matter, a person was killed," Lawrence County Prosecutor J.B. Collier Jr., said. "If he is convicted he faces a sentence of 15 years to life."

Burks is scheduled to stand trial July 14 on that murder charge. Burks was ruled mentally competent to stand trial last month following an evaluation by Shawnee Forensics Center.

Wilson was found dead at his Chesapeake home of multiple stab wounds. Burks was arrested in West Virginia a short time later.

At the time of his apprehension, Burks reportedly confessed to police he was involved in Wilson's death.

Samantha Bynes, 19, of Columbus, is also scheduled for a pretrial conference. She was arrested in April during a drug bust at a South Point motel. She is charged with felony trafficking in crack cocaine. A man arrested with her, Ghermaine Glass, 23, also of Columbus, was sentenced to three years in prison last month after he signed a bill of information in connection with the drug trafficking charges against him.

James McComas, 24, of 3748 State Route 217, will also appear in Common Pleas Court for a pretrial conference. He is charged with one count of aggravated vehicular homicide.

On March 13, the car McComas was driving was involved in a single-vehicle crash in the 1500 block of South Third Street. A passenger in that car, Richard Aaron Kelley, 27, of Walnut Street, Ironton, was killed.