The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

July 21, 2013

Wyoming defendant schedules plea hearing

By Bill Archer
For The Register-Herald

BLUEFIELD — Another Wyoming County defendant in the most recent round of arrests as part of the so-called Bluefield Pill Initiative has scheduled a plea hearing in late July, while a trio of female defendants in the case are now headed to federal magistrate court for bond revocation hearings.

U.S. District Court in Bluefield entered an order this week scheduling a plea hearing for Danny Lee Decker, 42, of Mullens, at 11 a.m. July 30. Decker was indicted on charges of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, two counts of distribution of oxycodone, one count of aiding and abetting the distribution of oxycodone and three counts of using a telephone to commit a drug crime.

Senior Status U.S. District Judge David A. Faber of the Southern District of West Virginia entered the order scheduling Decker’s plea hearing.

U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Clarke VanDervort entered three orders July 18, scheduling bond revocation hearings Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Beckley for Kathy Burchett, 38, of Welch; Elizabeth Ann Stewart, 30, of Matheny; and Tonya Lynn Goode, 35, also of Matheny. Burchett and Stewart’s hearings are scheduled for 10 a.m. and Goode’s hearing is set for 10:30 a.m.

Burchett is scheduled to appear before Faber in a plea hearing at 11 a.m. July 31 in Bluefield. Stewart and Goode are also scheduled for plea hearings Aug. 7, before Faber in Bluefield at 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., respectively.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin of the Southern District of West Virginia worked with federal, state and local authorities to launch the Bluefield Pill Initiative in June 2011 to combat the illegal prescription drug trade. The cases have been investigated by the Southern Regional Drug & Violent Crime Task Force made up of officers from the West Virginia State Police, the Mercer, McDowell and Wyoming county sheriff’s departments and the police departments of Princeton and Bluefield.

— Bill Archer is a reporter for the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.