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Chesapeake woman pleads guilty to complicity to aggravated murder

Three accused in death of Larry Scott Stephenson; drug cases fill docket

A Chesapeake woman pleaded guilty to complicity to aggravated murder Wednesday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Charles Cooper’s courtroom.

Brandy N. Miller, 34, of 127 Township Road 1079, Apt. A, Chesapeake, pleaded guilty to the unclassified felony, and in exchange for her plea, the state agreed to nolle a first-degree complicity to kidnapping charge and a third-degree tampering with evidence charge.

Miller, along with co-defendant Russell L. Adkins, 37, of 197 County Road 1, Lot 56, South Point, are accused of causing the death of Larry Scott Stephenson, 54, on or about Dec. 1 through Dec. 2, 2017. Miller was the girlfriend of Stephenson.

Adkins is accused of assaulting Stephenson unconscious before he and Miller drove him to an abandoned house, tied his hands and feet together and left him there until deputies found his body days later.

Cooper set sentencing for Miller for March 21.

Cases involving Adkins and another co-defendant, Amanda Chapman, are continued to a later date.

Adkins is currently facing aggravated murder, an unclassified felony, kidnapping, a first-degree felony, and tampering with evidence, a felony of the third-degree.

Chapman, age and address unknown, is facing complicity to aggravated murder, an unclassified felony.

In other cases:

• Candace R. Blankenship, 32, of 421 Township Road 279W, South Point, pleaded not guilty to trafficking in drugs (methamphetamine), a third-degree felony. Judge Andy Ballard set bond at $50,000 cash or surety and $100,000 OR. Pretrial was set for March 28.

• Bryan Bryant, 29, of 2831 S. Eighth St., Ironton, previously pleaded not guilty to illegal conveyance of prohibited items onto the grounds of a detention facility or institution, a third-degree felony, trafficking in drugs (methamphetamine), a fourth-degree felony, and possession of drugs (methamphetamine), a felony of the fifth-degree. He rejected the state’s final offer of two years, and is facing a maximum sentence of five and a half years in prison if found guilty. Ballard set trial for April 10 and 11.

• Jonathan Dunn, 26, of Portsmouth, pleaded guilty to an intervention in lieu of conviction (ILC) violation. Ballard sentenced him to four years community-controlled sanctions (CCS) violations under intensive supervised probation (ISP), and ordered him to complete treatment at Mended Reeds, 200 hours community service and pay court costs.

• Eddie Estep, 36, of 630 Township Road 60, South Point, pleaded not guilty to complicity to trafficking in drugs, a fifth-degree felony. Ballard set bond at $10,000 cash or surety and $25,000 OR. Pretrial was set for April 4.

• Ashley Gardner, 33, of 1539 County Road 21, Ironton, previously pleaded not guilty to two counts of possession of drugs (methamphetamine), both third-degree felonies, two counts of trafficking in drugs (methamphetamine, alprazolam), one third-degree and one fifth-degree felony, tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, possession of criminal tools, a fifth-degree felony, and illegal conveyance of prohibited items onto the grounds of a detention facility or institution, a felony of the third-degree. She rejected the state’s final offer of two years, and is facing a maximum sentence of 17 years in prison if found guilty. Ballard set trial for May 31 and June 1.

• Stephen L. Green, 34, of 19389 Anglin St., Detroit, Michigan, admitted CCS violations. Ballard sentenced him to six months in prison with credit for time served.

• Jonathan C. Hopkins, 22, of 1012 Ninth Ave., Huntington, West Virginia, pleaded not guilty to possession of drugs (psilocybin AKA mushrooms), a fifth-degree felony. Ballard continued bond at $2,600 cash or surety from lower court and set a $10,000 OR bond. Pretrial was set for April 4.

• Patrick Jones, 22, of South Point, pleaded not guilty to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, a first-degree misdemeanor. Ballard continued bond at $2,500 cash or surety from lower court and set a $10,000 OR bond. Pretrial was set for April 11.

• Taft Maynard, 25, of 1097 County Road 1, Apt. 27, South Point, pleaded not guilty to trafficking in drugs (methamphetamine), a fourth-degree felony. Ballard set bond at $10,000 cash or surety and $25,000 OR. Pretrial was set for April 4.

• Savannah L. Owens, 21, of 402 Second St., Ironton, changed her plea to not guilty by reason of insanity to one count of grand theft, a felony of the fourth-degree. Ballard ordered her to be examined.

• Michael B. Preston, 51, of 801 County Road 6, Ironton, previously pleaded not guilty to possession of dangerous drugs (tramadol hydrochloride), a fifth-degree felony, and illegal conveyance of prohibited items onto the grounds of a detention facility or institution, a third-degree felony. He rejected the state’s final offer of two years, and is facing a maximum of four years in prison if found guilty. Ballard set trial for June 4 and 5.

• Branden Sites, 29, of 1947 County Road 415, Pedro, previously pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, escape, a third-degree felony, complicity to counterfeit a controlled substance, a fourth-degree felony, and failure to appear, also a felony of the fourth-degree, in three separate cases. He rejected the state’s final offer of four and a half years, and is facing a maximum of nine years in prison if found guilty. Ballard set trial for April 30 and 31.

• Gerrica Woodyard, 24, of 228 Township Road 1287, Chesapeake, pleaded not guilty to possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), a fifth-degree felony. Ballard set bond at $10,000 cash or surety or $25,000 property and $25,000 OR. Pretrial was set for March 21.

• Aaron Workman, 30, of 512 State Route 373, Ironton, pleaded not guilty to two counts of felonious assault, both second-degree felonies, and failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer, a third-degree felony. Pretrial was set for April 11.

• Gary Scott, 38, of 124 Township Road 1049, Ironton, pleaded not guilty to trafficking in drugs (methamphetamine), a felony of the fourth-degree. Ballard set bond at $25,000 cash or surety and $50,000 OR. Pretrial was set for April 11.

• Brittany Christian, 30, of 1300 Third Ave., Montgomery, West Virginia, pleaded not guilty to possession of heroin, a fifth-degree felony. She is currently in jail, and Ballard set pretrial for March 21.

• Seann D. Brown, 36, of 871 Henry Clay Blvd., Lexington, Kentucky, pleaded guilty to two counts of trafficking in drugs (methamphetamine, alprazolam), one fourth-degree and one fifth-degree felony, and possession of criminal tools, a fifth-degree felony. Judge Charles Cooper sentenced him to 42 months in prison.

• Dwayne Gue, 21, of 105 Private Drive 11202, Chesapeake, admitted CCS violations. Cooper sentenced him to five months in prison.

• Lauren A. Keamerer, 25, of 257 W. Anderson St., Crown Point, Indiana, pleaded guilty to attempted possession of heroin, a first-degree misdemeanor. In exchange for her plea, the charge was amended from possession of heroin, which is a fifth-degree felony. Cooper sentenced her to 180 days in jail suspended, one year probation, and ordered her to complete treatment at Spectrum Outreach Services.

• Randy L. Perkey, 42, of 108 Sharon Court, South Point, previously pleaded not guilty to tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, trafficking in heroin, a fourth-degree felony, and trafficking in marijuana, also a felony of the fourth-degree. He rejected the state’s final offer, and Cooper set trial for April 2.

• Kayla Plumley, 25, of 105 Mercer St., Beckley, West Virginia, admitted CCS violations. Cooper sentenced her to six months in jail.

• Eric Roach, 40, of 3410 County Road 37, Scottown, previously pleaded not guilty to felonious assault, a second-degree felony. He rejected the state’s final offer, and Cooper set trial for April 12.

• James R. Rockwell, 51, of 2088 State Route 141, Ironton, pleaded guilty to three counts of trafficking in drugs (methamphetamine), all fourth-degree felonies. Cooper sentenced him to three years in prison.

• Samantha N. Workman, 31, of 150 Lakeview Drive, Huntington, West Virginia, pleaded guilty to possession of drugs (methamphetamine), a fifth-degree felony, possession of drugs (Xanax), a first-degree misdemeanor, and possession of drug abuse instruments, a second-degree misdemeanor. She was eligible for intervention in lieu on conviction, and Cooper ordered her to complete treatment.