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May 27, 2016

Recent criminal cases reported

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Posted: Friday, November 8, 2013 2:00 am

WAYNESBURG – The Messenger recently obtained information from local and state courts regarding updates on three unrelated criminal cases, including a man charged with assaulting an infant, a suspect charged with assaulting a woman, and a man who appealed his burglary conviction.


Father charged with assaulting infant

A Dilliner man was arraigned Monday on charges that he assaulted his two-month old daughter and caused multiple fractures.

Bobby Jarond Sammons, 23, was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Lee Watson Monday on one felony count of aggravated assault and one misdemeanor count each of endangering the welfare of children, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.

According to the criminal complaint, state police troopers were assigned on July 31 to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, W.Va., to investigate a report of child abuse that was reported by the county's Children and Youth Services.

Police and CYS conducted the investigation at the hospital and found the two-month girl lying in a bed with a sling on both of her legs due to her right femur bone being broken, the complaint states.

Police observed X-rays of the infant that were taken when she born and found that she had no broken bones at that time; they then observed X-rays that were taken on July 30 that determined the infant had new and old injuries to her bones, with the most obvious injury being being a displaced right femur fracture that was completely separated toward the top of her bones, the complaint states.

Older injuries observed were four rib fractures on the left side and two rib fractures on the right side that were healing, as well as the left radius and ulna bone that was broken near the wrist and a tibia fracture on the right and left lower leg that were all also healing; police also observed a small abrasion on the right rear side of her head, the complaint states.

Police interviewed Dr. Jeffrey Lancaster of Ruby Memorial Hospital, who reported that the injuries to the infant were “very suspicious” for intentional injuries and he advised this to Sammons and Ashley Cordwell, the infant's parents; Lancaster also told police he was concerned that the injuries did not occur from the same incident because of the different stages of healing, the complaint states.

Lancaster also told police the parents did not recall any episodes that caused injury to the infant, except for seeing their dog standing over the victim during a previous morning, the complaint states.

Police interviewed Sammons at the hospital, and he reported that he is the primary caretaker for the infant. He told police that he got up with the infant that morning and fed her, changed her diaper and wrapped her in a blanket; he then left the room to use the bathroom and had to move a gate from the bedroom door which prevents their dogs from going into the bedroom, the complaint states.

Sammons said he went into the bathroom when he heard the infant crying, and when he returned to the bedroom he saw their boxer puppy on the bed near the infant. He said he then he calmed the baby down and she went back to sleep, police said.

Sammons reported that the infant was “really fussy” but he did not think anything was wrong with the child because she did not have any scratches or bruises, but he did not believe the dog had hurt her; he reported that he saw swelling on the baby's hip and he put ice on it, but he did not have access to a vehicle to take the child to the hospital until Cordwell's mother returned home, the complaint states.

Sammons took a lie detector test at the state police station on Aug. 16, which he failed, police said.

Sammons then changed his story, reported that he changed the infant's diaper and when he reached for another diaper his knee came down on her hip and he heard the baby's leg pop; he said he picked the baby up to calm her down, and when Cordwell woke up after the infant started crying she asked what was happening and told him to give her a bottle, police said.

Sammons said he then told Cordwell that the dog had jumped on the baby, and Cordwell did not hear the baby's leg break, she only heard her crying, the complaint states.

Sammons said that the next morning the infant was fussy but he checked her leg and “it appeared to be alright,” the complaint states. However, Sammons said later in the day the infant's leg began to swell and they took her to the hospital when Cordwell's mother came home, police said.

Police said Sammons could not explain the other injuries to the infant but recalled an incident where the baby had fallen out of a car seat onto a hardwood floor, and he said believes the fall might have cause the other injuries, the complaint states.

Sammons told police he has never intentionally hurt the infant, the complaint states.

Following his arraignment, Sammons was placed in Greene County Jail in lieu of $50,000 straight bond. His preliminary hearing has been tentatively scheduled to be held before Watson on Nov. 14.


Man charged with assaulting woman

A Waynesburg man was arrested Sunday on various charges following allegations that he assaulted a woman during an altercation at Morgan Township residence.

Michael David Willhoft, 23, was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Lee Watson on a count of simple assault and two summary offenses of harassment and public drunkenness following an incident that occurred at a residence at the Reeseman's Mobile Home Park early morning on Nov. 3.

According to the criminal complaint, state police were dispatched to a report of a domestic disturbance at the residence after a neighbor had called police to report hearing a woman screaming.

Police arrived and talked to a woman at the residence, who reported that she had gotten into an argument with Willhoft; Willhoft had been drinking and began breaking items in the house and smashed her phones so she could not call 911, police said.

The woman told police that during the argument he punched her in the head, kicked her in the ribs and legs, and wrestled her to the ground, and she had to bite him to get him off of her; she said he then fled on foot and she was alone at the residence with her two children, the complaint states.

Police observed the woman to have contusions on her forehead where she said he punched her and scrape marks on her chin where she said he kicked her; police also observed several pieces of furniture smashed and the phone line snapped, the complaint states.

Police arranged for the woman and her children to get a ride away from the residence; during their investigation they returned to the residence and found Willhoft hiding on the floor in the back bedroom under a blanket, the complaint states. He was taken into custody and transported to the Waynesburg state police station.

Following arraignment, Willhoft was placed in Greene County Jail in lieu of $5,000 straight bond. His preliminary hearing has been scheduled to be held before Watson on Nov. 11.


Area man appeals burglary conviction, may get more time

A three-judge state Superior Court panel granted a resentencing hearing that may end up tacking more time onto the sentence of a man convicted of burglary and criminal trespass in Greene County in July 2012.

Javier Luc Garcia Bouchard, 30, of Waynesburg was sentenced to 15 to 36 months for the burglary charge, and the trial court merged the offense of criminal trespass for sentencing purposes. Merging the charges means a judge will not hand down a separate sentence for two counts, and is done when the legal elements of one crime are included in a lesser charge.

In his appeal before the Superior Court, Bouchard challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to support the burglary conviction, and argued that photos of the house admitted into evidence by the prosecution were not an accurate representation of the premises on the date of the incident.

The judges denied both those claims, however they took issue with the merging of the two charges for sentencing.

“The current state of merger law in Pennsylvania makes clear there is no merger if each offense requires proof of an element the other does not,” the judges wrote, quoting the findings of a previous state Superior Court opinion.

“The crime of criminal trespass has an element requiring knowledge by the person committing the crime that he is not privileged to enter, while burglary does not have an element requiring knowledge,” according to the judges. “However, burglary does have an element requiring the intent to commit a crime within the premises, which criminal trespass does not.”

According to court documents, Bouchard was illegally occupying a home in Waynesburg that was in disrepair and often stood empty. The property was being used part-time by the owner, Glen Jacob Roy Thorton Toothman III, as an office and storage space. Court filings indicate Toothman maintained electricity, internet and telephone service to the house and kept the grass mowed.

In October 2011, Toothman found the house ransacked by someone who had come in through a window, and he reported what he discovered to the police. The next evening, investigators found Bouchard sleeping in Toothman’s house.

The appeals court remanded the case to Greene County for resentencing, without making suggestions about the sentencing scheme to the trial court.

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