The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


April 23, 2010

Three appear in court for sentencing

BECKLEY — Three defendants appeared for sentencing before Raleigh County Circuit Judge H.L. Kirkpatrick Thursday.

Michael E. Bryant, 50, of Beckley, received suspended sentences of one year for brandishing and two years for being a felon in possession of a firearm. As a condition of the firearm probation, however, Kirkpatrick ordered Bryant to serve an alternative sentence of four months at Southern Regional Jail.

Bryant received credit for 28 days served.

“I’m cutting you a substantial break here today,” Kirkpatrick told Bryant, urging him to stay away from guns and violence when he is released.

Kerina Jonee Vaughn, 20, of Beckley, was sentenced to a term at the Anthony Correctional Center for youthful offenders after Kirkpatrick suspended a five-year term for wanton endangerment.

Vaughn’s plea stemmed from a Jan. 8 incident during which she shot a .22 caliber handgun at a woman with whom she had argued over a former boyfriend.

Vaughn read a statement telling Kirkpatrick she let people “bring me down.” She said she regretted what she had done and would never make the mistake again.

Kirkpatrick said a Beckley police detective recommended Vaughn receive the full punishment, as he said she told him she intended to kill the victim and he feared she might do so if released.

However, Kirkpatrick said Vaughn received favorable community sentiment and was described as an intelligent, good person who was not necessarily violent but did have a quick temper.

Kirkpatrick told Vaughn he was worried about her but believed she would have success while in Anthony.

“I want you to get on the right path and do well with your life,” he said.

Joseph Bart O’Conner, 37, of Daniels, received one to 15 years for nighttime burglary.

Although Kirkpatrick said O’Conner had favorable community sentiment, he could not place him on probation based on his past criminal record and the nature of the crime.

“I’m sympathetic to your plight but troubled by the nature of (the) conviction,” he said. “I cannot condone burglaries of any kind.”

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