Ocie Gathel “Granny” Barnette
83, of Boggs

Marlene Seldomridge Bayless
78, of Richwood

Paul E. Cool Jr.
of Guardian

Edna "Jo" Dean Crooks
90, of Florence, Az.

Betty Jean Donahue
77, of Nettie

Mary Katherine Ewanus
79, of Huntington


Arnel Wayne Lively
infant, of Craigsville

Denise Kay Moul
50, of Nettie

Gary Allen Nutter
49, of Granville, Ohio

Harold Earl Osborne
76, of Summersville

David Dwaine Perkins
73, of Canal Winchester, Ohio

Nancy Carol Ray
64, of Summersville

Paul Michael Shifflett
38, of Craigsville

Lucille Adkins Thomas
88, of Dixie


Alice Mae Williamson
61, of Summersville








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Spinks convicted of murder in death of wife

By Pat Hanna
The Nicholas Chronicle

Paul Darren Spinks has been convicted of first-degree murder in the shooting death of his wife nearly eight years ago.

Jurors deliberated for five and a half hours on Wednesday, Aug. 19, before finding Spinks, 44, guilty in the murder of 35-year-old Elizabeth Spinks on Oct. 31, 2007, at their Birch River residence.

The eight-woman, four-man jury did not recommend mercy, meaning Spinks will automatically receive a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Nicholas County Circuit Judge Gary Johnson set a formal sentencing hearing for Sept. 3 to allow members of Elizabeth Spinks' family a chance to deliver victim impact statements in open court.

Judge Johnson also revoked Spinks' $150,000 bond and remanded him to the custody of the sheriff. Spinks was transported to Central Regional Jail to await sentencing.

Defense attorney Steve Hunter asked the court to appoint appellate counsel for Spinks in anticipation of an appeal to the state Supreme Court. Judge Johnson indicated that process would begin once Spinks files an application for court-appointed counsel.

Nicholas Prosecutor Samuel White praised the work of assistant prosecutors Jennifer Crane and Jonathan Calhoun, who were assigned the case in April and represented the state during the six-day trial.

"I thought Jennifer and Jonathan both did an excellent job in showing there was only one way this could have happened," White said.

"I hope the family (of Elizabeth Spinks) gets some peace out of the verdict that was just read," he added.

Spinks, who sustained a gunshot wound to his left leg in the incident, maintained his innocence all along. In statements to State Police, he claimed he and his wife were shot on the front porch of their residence by an unknown assailant. He also said he thought the shots came from the vicinity of Birch River Elementary School, about 200 yards away.

But State Police 1st Sgt. Mike Lynch, a prosecution expert witness, said that based on Elizabeth Spinks' fatal wound and the trajectory of the bullet that caused it, the shot did not come from the school or "from anywhere close to the school."

At a distance of 200 yards, Lynch said, the gunman would have had to fire from an elevation of 300-some feet, "and I'm not seeing any structure, any trees high enough for someone to fire that shot."

Lynch also testified that the defendant's injury was "inconsistent with his own statements."

"They were not shot from a great distance," Lynch testified.

The murder weapon was never found, and there was testimony at trial that no gunshot or gunpowder residue was found on Darren Spinks.

White acknowledged the passage of time since the incident and the lack of a murder weapon made it more difficult for the state, but he added, "There was only one explanation of what happened that day."

Testimony at trial revealed there was no blood trail leading from the front porch to a bathroom inside the residence where Spinks said he retreated to call 911, leading authorities to believe his wound was apparently self-inflicted inside the home in an attempt to cover up his involvement and throw off the investigation.

There was also testimony that Elizabeth Spinks had been a victim of domestic abuse and had begun filling out papers to obtain a divorce, although no one could say that the defendant knew about her divorce plans.

"She was murdered by the only person who had a motive," Crane said in her closing argument.

Referring to Lynch's testimony, Crane said, "Trigonometry is not some Johnny come lately theory. It's science."

Concluding her remarks, Crane told jurors, "Elizabeth Spinks died alone on her own front porch. He (the defendant) does not deserve mercy."

Spinks was indicted on the murder charge last September after State Police Cpl. D.P. White reopened the investigation.

Jurors heard testimony from 28 prosecution witnesses and one defense expert witness. A number of exhibits were also introduced as evidence.

Spinks did not testify.

A full report on the trial will appear in the Aug. 27 issue of The Nicholas Chronicle.




Practice Makes Perfect

This past weekend, the Nicholas County Firemen’s Association partnered with the Nicholas County Division of Emergency Management to host the first annual Emergency Services Training Weekend. The weekend encompassed advanced level training courses in firefighting, rescue, medical, and law enforcement tactics, with classes such as Engine Company Operations, Active Shooter, Rapid Intervention, and K-9 Tracking. Over 80 attendees from Nicholas and surrounding counties, including firefighters, law enforcement officers, and emergency medical services participated in the training. The firefighter pictured above practices vehicle extrication using cutters to open the door of a wrecked vehicle to rescue a trapped occupant in a mock accident.




Area first responders receive training

Through a partnership between the Nicholas County Firemen’s Association and the Nicholas County Division of Emergency Management, the first annual Emergency Services Training Weekend was held Friday, Aug. 14, through Sunday, Aug. 16.

Advanced level training courses were held for firefighters, E-911 dispatchers, emergency medical services and law enforcement officers.

One-day classes for firefighters were Thermal Imaging Cameras, Traffic Incident Management Systems and Hoarder Fires.

Two-day classes for firefighters were Rapid Intervention Team, Engine Company Operations and Vehicle Rescue I.

The E-911 dispatchers were offered a class in Fire Service Communications.

One-day classes for emergency medical services were Assessing the Critical Patient, Traffic Incident Management Systems, Age 0-100 and Everything in Between, Trauma Patients and Mechanisms of Injuries, PALS Refresher and Burn Patient, Drowning Patients, Pediatric Trauma and Pediatric Medical Emergencies.

For law enforcement officers, one-day classes were K-9 Odor Decision, Traffic Incident Management Systems, Police Pursuit Issues, Sobriety Checkpoints and K-9 Tracking.

The lone two-day class was Active Shooter in which officers learned how to properly respond in the event of a person with a gun inside a building or bus.




County Teacher and Service Person

of the Year named at Employees Opening Day

The 2015 Nicholas County Teacher of the Year and the 2015 Nicholas County Service Person of the Year were named at the Nicholas County Schools Opening School Program for employees for the 2015-16 school year on Monday morning, Aug. 17, in the Nicholas County High School Auditorium.

Following welcoming remarks by Nicholas County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Keith Butcher, the Wilderness Battalion of the Junior ROTC from the Nicholas County Career and Technical Center in Craigsville presented the colors.

Caroline Smith, student at Summersville Middle School, led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Richwood Middle School student Bricie Hamrick performed the National Anthem.

The superintendent gave a PowerPoint presentation outlining the goals of Nicholas County Schools.

Following the welcoming program, teachers and service personnel spent the remainder of the day Monday attending professional development sessions at the high school or Summersville Middle School.

Tuesday and Wednesday of this week were also site-based professional development sessions for employees at assigned work sites. Thursday will be a preparation day, and students return to the classroom on Friday, Aug. 21.




Summersville Police arrest two believed

to be involved in multi-state counterfeit ring

Two out-of-state men believed to be part of multi-state counterfeit crimes were arrested by the Summersville Department last week after purchasing items at Lowe’s in Summersville using counterfeit bills for the second time in a three-week period.

Terrance L. Williams, 40, and Anatolly Melnik, 38, both of Inman, S.C., were each arrested and charged with one felony count of counterfeiting, one felony count of possession of counterfeit with intent to utter and one felony count of conspiring to possess and utter a counterfeit note and currency.

Police were called to Lowe’s last Wednesday, Aug. 12, after the two men used counterfeit bills to obtain goods from the store including a leaf blower and a chainsaw using eight counterfeit $100 bills, according to the criminal complaint filed in Nicholas County Magistrate Court.

When officers detained the two men, after they had returned to their car, Williams reportedly had two counterfeit $100 bills in his possession.



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