Thanks to the efforts of his family, Dawson Wilson will not have to spend the next five years in prison. He will, however, have to remain at Potomac Highlands Regional Jail until arrangements can be made to facilitate the conditions of his probation.
Judge C. Carter Williams, presiding over the 22nd Circuit in Hardy County accepted plea agreements and sentenced Wilson on Thursday, Dec. 19.
Wilson, 53, of Wardensville, was indicted in June on eight counts of wanton endangerment with a firearm. According to charging documents, Wilson pointed and discharged a firearm inside his home. There were eight people, including two children, inside and immediately outside the home.
Wilson pleaded guilty to one count of wanton endangerment and Hardy County Prosecuting Attorney Lucas See said he would not oppose probation if Wilson received a favorable 60-day evaluation.
Wilson did not receive a favorable evaluation, according to his defense attorney William Bean. Wilson was also evaluated for a drug treatment program, but was not accepted. He was ordered to attend the South Branch Day Report Center while out on bond, but was dismissed and sent back to jail after he tested positive for drugs twice.
“I believe the best place for Mr. Wilson is the South Branch Valley Drug Court, but because his charges include the use of a deadly weapon, he does not qualify,” Judge Williams said.
Bean said Wilson comes from a good family. He worked at the same job for 30 years. He had no criminal history.
“Then something happened and he lost that job,” Bean said. “It was drugs.”
Wilson’s family has always been present during his hearings. His brother, Douglas Wilson of Moorefield sent a letter to the court giving Dawson permission to reside with him. His sister, Pam Schell, spoke on his behalf at the sentencing hearing.
“The person he is now is not who I grew up with,” she said. “He never did drugs – he’s 50 years old. But he started hanging out with people who were addicts. I told him they would convince him to try drugs and they did.
“He says jail has helped him see things clearly. He has told me he will do everything to not go back.
“I know the only person who can do this is him. My brother will take him in and I will check on him, but we can’t watch him 24-hours a day.”
Wilson said his six months in jail have convinced him he can stay away from drugs. “I lay awake at night, thinking about where I messed up,” he said.
Williams sentenced Wilson to five years in prison, but suspended that sentence and ordered Wilson to seven years probation. Williams also ordered several special conditions of Wilson’s probation.
Williams said he will contact the Day Report Center and ask if they will consider taking Wilson back into their program. “If they take you back, you will do everything without a peep,” Williams said.
The judge requested the probation department inspect Douglas Wilson’s home to make sure there are no firearms and any medication is secured.
Williams also ordered Wilson on Home Incarceration. “You will wear a bracelet and you will repay your sister for the costs,” he said.
“You will find gainful employment. You will complete the Day Report Program. You will not go back to your house in Wardensville. You will not be in contact with the people listed on the police report. In addition to repaying your sister, you will pay all attorney and court fees.”
Williams further ordered, Wilson not be released from jail until all of the conditions are in place.
“You will spend Christmas and New Years in jail,” he said. “Day Report cannot take you until after the first of the year.
“You will do everything 100 percent, because if you don’t, you’ll go to prison.”
Shannon L. Judy, 42, of Moorefield pleaded guilty to one count of failure to register as a sex offender first offense. He was originally charged with failure to register, second offense.
According to charging documents, West Virginia State Police initiated a traffic stop in May and found Judy had not registered the vehicle he was driving as required.
Judy was stopped a second time in June driving the same unregistered vehicle.
Judy’s defense attorney, Brian Vance, said Judy’s father let him drive the vehicle, but didn’t want it on the sex offender registry.
The penalty for failure to register, first offense is not less than one year and not more than five years in prison.
Judge Williams accepted the guilty plea and ordered a pre-sentence evaluation. He scheduled sentencing for Tuesday, Jan. 28.
Judy’s bond was continued.
Barry Hedrick, 46, of Petersburg, pleaded guilty to driving on a revoked license for DUI, third offense and driving under the influence, second offense.
Hedrick was indicted for driving under the influence, third offense and driving on revoked license for DUI, third offense.
According to charging documents, Hedrick was stopped by Moorefield Police in January. His driver’s license had been revoked and he failed a field sobriety test. He later admitted to smoking methamphetamine.
As part of the plea agreement, the state will not oppose his sentences to run concurrently and would not oppose home incarceration.
The penalty for driving on a revoked license is not less than one year and not more than three years in prison. There is also a mandatory not less than $3,000 and not more than $5,000 fine. “You understand, I am mandated to impose the fine,” Williams said.
The penalty for the misdemeanor charge of DUI, second offense is not less than six months and not more than one year in jail.
Williams ordered a pre-sentence evaluation and scheduled sentencing for Feb. 11. His bond was continued.