No-shows arraigned in county court

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Two men accused of evading authorities for extended periods of time each had their day in court Wednesday.

Mark Ward, 34, of South Point, appeared in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court in connection with a fourth-degree felony possession of marijuana charge that was filed on him more than four years ago.

Ward was to have stood trial in September 2001 but failed to show up for a pretrial conference. Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Charles Cooper said Ward was arrested at a Taco Bell in Huntington, W.Va. last month.

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&#8220We've missed you,” Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Frank McCown said to Ward. Ward contended there had been a misunderstanding about the matter and that he had been living in South Point all that time.

McCown agreed to delay further action in the case to allow his new attorney, Tyler Smith, time to prepare his case.

Ward also faces a failure to appear charge in Ironton Municipal Court in connection with the case. Ward remains in the Lawrence County Jail.

Also Wednesday, a man who failed to appear for drug treatment a year ago appeared in Common Pleas Court to answer an escape charge.

Conell Jessie, 26, of 108 Solida Road, South Point, pleaded guilty in October 2004 to three counts of trafficking in crack cocaine. At that time, he was sentenced to four years community controlled sanctions and ordered to undergo in-house drug rehabilitation.

Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Brigham Anderson said Jessie failed to show up for drug treatment and the escape charge was issued for him then.

Jessie now faces a mandatory three-year sentence on the escape charge as well as a two- year prison stint that was reserved if he violated the terms of his probation. The sentence for the escape charge must be served consecutively to the other sentences.

&#8220We gave him one chance and he messed up,” Anderson said. &#8220We won't give him another.”

Jessie will return to court next week for a pre-trial conference. McCown set bond at $100,000. Jessie remains in the Lawrence County Jail.