NEW RIVER GORGE FIRE
New River Gorge fire 90 percent contained
GLEN JEAN, W.Va. (AP) - Firefighting crews have contained 90 percent of a fire that's burning in the New River Gorge National River.
Park ranger Leah Perkowski-Sisk says the fire in the Endless Wall area of the gorge is expected to be fully contained Friday. The Endless Wall trail remains closed to public use.
Crews monitored hot spots and continued mop-up work on Thursday.
The fire was reported on Sunday and has burned about 130 acres.
Perkowsi-Sisk says the fire was caused by human activity and remains under investigation.
Kanawha prosecutor barred from child abuse cases
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Special prosecutors have been installed to handle child abuse cases in Kanawha County.
The action comes after Circuit Judge Duke Bloom disqualified prosecutor Mark Plants and his staff from handling such cases. Bloom swore in special prosecutors Thursday morning.
Plants is charged with domestic battery for allegedly hitting one of his sons more than 10 times with a leather belt. He has argued in court papers that he was acting within a constitutionally protected right to protect his child.
In Wednesday's order, Bloom bars Plants and his office from handling cases involving crimes of violence by a parent or guardian, abuse and neglect cases, and violations of domestic violence protection orders.
The West Virginia Supreme Court has set a May 5 hearing on whether to suspend Plants' law license.
EX-PRISON WORKER PLEA
Ex-Alderson prison worker admits to sex charge
BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) - A former worker at the Federal Prison Camp in Alderson has pleaded guilty to charges that he touched a female inmate's breasts.
U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin says 48-year-old Jeffrey S. Walton of Ronceverte was acting as the inmate's work supervisor when the incident occurred last year.
Walton pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Beckley to abusive sexual contact with a female federal inmate.
Sentencing is set for July 31. Walton faces up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
W.Va. court reinstates man's murder convictions
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The West Virginia Supreme Court has reinstated a man's first-degree murder convictions for the 1982 slayings of two people in Marion County.
The court ruled that the Ohio County Circuit Court erred when it granted Philip Reese Bush a new trial last year.
Bush was convicted in 1983 of killing Charles Dale Goff and Kathleen Jane Williams. His trial was moved to Ohio County because of pretrial publicity.
Bush's appeal argued that one of the trial court's jury instructions denied him due process.
A memorandum of decision issued Wednesday by the Supreme Court says there was no deprivation of due process.
Bush is serving two life sentences. He's also a co-defendant in a separate Marion County case involving the slayings of three people in 1974.
2 indicted in 2012 Huntington museum break-in
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) - A Cabell County grand jury has indicted two Beckley men on charges stemming from a 2012 break-in at the Huntington Museum of Art.
Media outlets report that 25-year-old Remington Wright and 26-year-old Deon Staunton are each charged with destruction of property, attempt to commit grand larceny, conspiracy and entering a building other than a dwelling.
The men are accused of breaking into the museum on April 14, 2012, and attempting to take silver antiquities.
Police disrupted the break-in after an alarm company notified the museum's director.
Court documents say the break-in caused more than $82,000 in damage.
Mercer man finds grenade while hunting mushrooms
GLENWOOD, W.Va. (AP) - A Mercer County man made an unexpected find while hunting for mushrooms.
State police Trooper B.R. Wood tells the Bluefield Daily Telegraph that the man found a World War II-era pineapple grenade on Wednesday evening.
Wood says the Mercer County Special Response Team disposed of the grenade by blowing it in place.
He says a lot of World War II soldiers brought grenades home as souvenirs. Most were duds or had the charges removed.
Fayette man sentenced for throwing cats into fire
FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. (AP) - A Fayette County man convicted of throwing a box containing cats into a fire will spend at least three years in prison.
Michael W. Ford pleaded guilty in February to three felony animal cruelty counts. Media outlets report that the 56-year-old Victor resident was sentenced Tuesday in Fayette County Circuit Court to one to five years in prison on each count.
Circuit Court Judge John Hatcher ordered the sentences to run consecutively. He also ordered Ford to pay a $1,000 fine.
State police say Ford put his wife's cats and kittens into a box and threw the box into an open fire on his property on Oct. 21, 2013. The remains of seven felines were recovered.
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