Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Ward

Supreme Court of West Virginia

June 11, 2018

State of West Virginia, Plaintiff Below, Respondent
v.
Jeffery Scott Ward, II, Defendant Below, Petitioner

          Marshall County 16-F-133

          MEMORANDUM DECISION

         Petitioner Jeffery Scott Ward, II, by counsel Jason D. Parmer, appeals the Circuit Court of Marshall County's March 30, 2017, sentencing order. Respondent State of West Virginia, by counsel Robert L. Hogan, filed a response. On appeal, petitioner contends that the circuit court committed plain error at trial in using two different definitions of "battery" in its jury instructions and in allowing the State to cross-examine a witness regarding her sexual character.

         This Court has considered the parties' briefs and the record on appeal. The facts and legal arguments are adequately presented, and the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument. Upon consideration of the standard of review, the briefs, and the record presented, the Court finds no substantial question of law and no prejudicial error. For these reasons, a memorandum decision affirming the circuit court's order is appropriate under Rule 21 of the Rules of Appellate Procedure.

         Petitioner was indicted for one count of burglary, one count of battery, and one count of brandishing a deadly weapon on February 7, 2017. Approximately one month later, on March 6, 2017, petitioner proceeded to trial on these charges. At trial, Bryan McClelland testified for the State. Mr. McClelland testified that he was in a prior relationship with Danielle Ward from May of 2010 until January of 2016, and they had one child during this time.[1] Mr. McClelland and Ms. Ward broke up for a short period during the summer of 2015 while Mr. McClelland attended a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility, and Ms. Ward began a relationship with petitioner. Upon Mr. McClelland's completion of rehabilitation, however, he and Ms. Ward resumed their relationship from approximately the middle of August of 2015 until January of 2016. Ms. Ward informed Mr. McClelland that she was pregnant and that the child was his. Following their break-up in January of 2016, Ms. Ward informed Mr. McClelland that the child she was carrying did not belong to him and that it, in fact, belonged to petitioner. Mr. McClelland, therefore, initiated a lawsuit to establish paternity.

         Mr. McClelland further testified that, at 1:07 a.m. on September 12, 2016, he was asleep and awakened by his dog jumping off of his bed. Mr. McClelland turned his head and saw a tall figure standing beside his bed, and this person started hitting him on his head. Once Mr. McClelland gained control of the situation and eventually pinned his attacker to the bed, he realized that it was petitioner who was attacking him. Mr. McClelland testified that petitioner had a gun and a large flat-head screwdriver in his possession. Mr. McClelland also stated that he sustained cuts on his hairline, a broken nose, "big welts" on the side of his face, and a swollen jaw. Mr. McClelland said that he "got cut every time [he] was hit, " but he could not testify with any certainty as to whether petitioner struck him with anything other than his fist. The jury was shown pictures of Mr. McClelland's cut, bloodied, and swollen face.

         Mr. McClelland further testified that once he gained control, petitioner began stating that he wanted to talk to Mr. McClelland. Mr. McClelland told petitioner, "Drop the screwdriver and I'm going to let you up real slow." Petitioner started to get off the bed, but then quickly reached behind him and pulled a pistol on Mr. McClelland. Petitioner informed Mr. McClelland, "This ends tonight[, ]" which Mr. McClelland presumed was a reference to the paternity case. While keeping the gun pointed at Mr. McClelland, petitioner instructed him to wrap a belt around his arm and inject a syringe containing Vicodin, Xanax, and heroin into his arm, which petitioner had with him. Petitioner also informed Mr. McClelland that he planned to anonymously report an overdose.

         Mr. McClelland refused to inject the drugs and told petitioner that he would have to shoot him. For a moment, as Mr. McClelland was trying to think of a way out of the situation, he thought petitioner was going to shoot him. Mr. McClelland testified that he stated to petitioner, "If this is about the paternity case, just write something up and I'll sign it that I'm dropping the paternity case." Petitioner then handwrote an agreement for Mr. McClelland's signature, which stated that Mr. McClelland would drop the paternity suit. After Mr. McClelland signed the document, petitioner asked Mr. McClelland where he kept his trash bags. Mr. McClelland answered petitioner's question, and petitioner proceeded to remove Mr. McClelland's sheets, pillows, and pillowcases from his bed, tell Mr. McClelland he was going to file the signed document with the court, tell Mr. McClelland not to call the police or petitioner would kill him, and, ultimately, leave Mr. McClelland's home. Mr. McClelland testified that petitioner left on foot and did not have a vehicle in his driveway. Mr. McClelland then called 9-1-1.

         Petitioner testified on his own behalf at trial and offered a contrary version of events. Petitioner testified that he was scheduled to be out of town for job training, and he wished to resolve his differences over the paternity case with Mr. McClelland prior to leaving town. Therefore, petitioner testified that he left for Mr. McClelland's home at approximately 11:30 p.m. on September 11, 2017, and arrived there close to midnight. Petitioner testified that he "beat" on Mr. McClelland's door and rang his doorbell for ten to fifteen minutes before Mr. McClelland answered the door and motioned for petitioner to enter the home. Petitioner testified that he "stepped into the front entryway, and that's when I get cold-cocked." Petitioner stated that, after punching him, Mr. McClelland pulled a shotgun from an entryway closet. Petitioner testified that he grabbed the barrel of the gun, spun it around, and punched Mr. McClelland in the nose. Petitioner further testified that "[o]ne time I punched him in the nose, but there was a scuffle after the fact. I know we threw punches at each other. I can't tell you honestly a bunch landed or not, but I know we were both swinging at that point." Eventually, the scuffle ended, and petitioner claims they walked into the living room and petitioner told Mr. McClelland, "I'm only here to talk, man. I just want this to end. I want it to be done. I want it to be over with." Petitioner detailed that the two men were "huffing and puffing" and that Mr. McClelland was "bleeding because, unfortunately, I broke his nose. He was pretty well covered with blood. I mean, the front of his T-shirt, it was nice and red." Petitioner testified that, after talking, Mr. McClelland signed the document agreeing to end the paternity suit.

         Ms. Ward also testified on petitioner's behalf at trial. Ms. Ward testified that she met petitioner during the summer of 2015 and found out she was pregnant around September of 2015. On cross-examination, the prosecutor asked, "Was that the only time you admit that you had relations with [petitioner] prior to dating?" Ms. Ward responded, "No. We have several times." The State continued, "But you were still together with [Mr. McClelland]?" Ms. Ward stated, "No. I broke up with [Mr. McClelland] before he went to rehab." Without objection, this line of questioning continued:

Q. When did you have - and that's when you first had relations with [petitioner]?
A. Yes. It was not as late as August. It was earlier than that. I would say probably July, maybe June.
. . . .
Q. How many times have you had sexual relations with [petitioner] prior to rekindling your relationship with [Mr. McClelland]?
A. I didn't count. I mean, maybe five.
. . . .
A. Okay. So you're asking me how many times I had sex with my husband ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.