Obstructing justice gets woman probation

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 29, 2007

Being less than truthful with police looking for an armed robber can have lasting consequences, a West Virginia woman learned Wednesday.

Brittany Ellis, 22, of Hurricane, was sentenced to four years community controlled sanctions on an obstruction of justice conviction stemming from the holdup of the McMeans Pharmacy in South Point in August 2006.

Authorities contended Ellis withheld information about the robbery when Lawrence County Sheriff’s deputies first approached her shortly after the robbery but later had a change of heart and cooperated in their search for the suspects.

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“She has no criminal record and she did agree to testify against the others,” Lawrence County prosecutor J.B. Collier Jr., said. “She was not involved in the execution of the robbery.”

Walton left open the possibility that Ellis could be taken off probation earlier if she follows rules and does not get into any more trouble.

The man who went into the pharmacy and held employees and patrons at gunpoint, Gabriel Miller, 28, also of Hurricane, W.Va., was sentenced to 15 years for his crime. Another cohort,

Michael Ray Rogers, 47, of 1173 County Road 1, South Point, was sentenced to 13 years for “aiding and abetting” Miller.

In another matter, James Jordan, 28, of 125 Township Road 321, Ironton, pleaded guilty on a bill of information Wednesday to numerous counts of theft, breaking and entering and criminal damage.

Walton sentenced Jordan to a total of 11 months in prison and ordered him to pay restitution to his victims. Jordan is accused of breaking into Larry’s Auto Parts. He is also accused of stealing the catalytic converter off two vehicles.

Stephanie Burchett, 24, of Lucasville, admitted Wednesday she violated the terms of her probation. Walton ordered her to successfully complete a rehabilitation program at the community-based correctional facility.

“You can get help, you just have to follow the rules. It’s real simple,” Walton told Burchett.

Burchett was placed on probation in October 2005 after a drug conviction. Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Brigham Anderson said Burchett got into trouble when she failed to report to her probation officer as she was ordered to and failed a required drug test.

John Hagan, 21, of 522 N. Second St., Ironton, pleaded guilty to attempt to commit theft from the elderly, misdemeanor criminal trespass and two counts of theft from the elderly.

Cooper sentenced Hagan to 90 days in jail with credit for time spent in jail awaiting resolution of his case. The last 20 days of the jail term may be spent on home confinement. Cooper further ordered Hagan to serve four years community controlled sanctions under intensive supervised probation and pay $750 in restitution.

Frederick Schob, 27, of South Webster, pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of theft from the elderly. Cooper sentenced Schob to four years community controlled sanctions and fined him $500. Schob must also make $1,000 restitution to his victim. He is accused of taking a taking a debit card from the elderly woman.