CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WV News) — A 28-year-old Philippi man who won’t get out of prison until he’s 55 due to three sex crime convictions has failed in his appeal to the state Supreme Court.
John Wesley Barker Jr. is serving a total term of 30-60 years for molesting a girl under age 12, and won’t be eligible for parole before he discharges that sentence at the halfway point through good-behavior credit.
Attorney Ryan Shreve had appealed the convictions, citing double jeopardy, and also had questioned whether the sentence was unconstitutionally disproportionate to the crimes.
But the high court’s decision Friday nixed the double jeopardy argument and noted Judge Shawn D. Nines imposed a sentence within the statutory limits. Because of that, the prison term wasn’t subject to appellate review.
Nines had imposed the maximum sentence. The judge cited the “atrocious acts” committed by Barker, the young age of the victim and the benefit Barker received through the plea deal. That agreement, negotiated by Shreve, saw three first-degree sexual assault charges dismissed that, had convictions been returned, could have kept Barker in prison for life.
Prosecutor Thomas Hoxie presented the state’s case, which was investigated by State Police.
Once put in a position of trust with the victim, Barker “quickly abused it,” Hoxie previously said, adding the child repeatedly said “no.” The child suffered physical injuries, along with mental trauma, past statements in court indicated.
Once Barker is released from prison, he will be under extended court supervision for 50 more years.
— A 42-year-old Reynoldsville man is the latest area resident to complete the West Virginia Division of Correction’s Getting Over Addictive Lifestyles Successfully behind-bars inpatient treatment program.
Harrison Circuit Judge Christopher J. McCarthy on Friday granted a sentencing reduction for David Ryan Mick due to his success at the jail-based GOALS program, according to the Office of Harrison Prosecutor Rachel Romano.
Represented by attorneys Zach and Tom Dyer, Mick was placed on home incarceration for the remainder of the term of 1-3 years imposed for his two counts of felony third-offense driving on a license suspended or revoked for DUI.
The outcome was about the best Mick could have hoped for. During one of his offenses, Mick rear-ended another vehicle while driving without a valid license and without insurance.
Additionally, Mick could have faced a two-time felon enhancement.
Assistant Prosecutor Brian Shockley represented the state.
— Anthony Richard Jones, 35, Clarksburg, has been charged with third-offense driving on an operator’s license suspended or revoked for DUI.
On Thursday, Jones drove unlawfully on North 17th Street in Clarksburg, Clarksburg Police Sgt. Laura McGlone alleged.
Harrison Magistrate Mike Weiss held the initial appearance.