Mountain Statesman | Flemington man admits guilt to possessing a firearm when prohibited

TAYLOR COUNTY—After allegedly firing shots at a man cutting wood, a Flemington man entered into a negotiated plea agreement with the State of West Virginia.

67-year-old Hershel Kenneth Parks was originally arrested and charged with wanton endangerment involving a firearm and prohibited person from possessing firearms in March, after officers were called to a home in Flemington after a complaint was made that a neighbor had fired shots at an individual as he cut wood.

Parks was indicated by the Taylor County Grand Jury on the charge during their April 2022 term. He was also dictated on the charge of persons prohibited from possessing a firearm.

According to West Virginia State Code §61-7-12, if found guilty of wanton endangerment, Parks could serve a definite term of not less than one nor more than five years in a state penitentiary or in the discretion of the court, confinement in the county jail for not more than one year, or found not less than $250 nor more than $2,500 or both.

In addition, if found guilty of his second charge, he could serve an additional sentence of approximately one year, according to West Virginia State Code §61-7-7.

Recently, alongside his attorney, Scott Shough, the defendant entered into a plea deal with the state, admitting guilt to the accusations.

As part of the agreement, in return for his guilty plea to count two of the indictment, persons prohibited from possessing a firearm, Taylor County Prosecuting Attorney John Bord agreed to dismiss count one, wanton endangerment involving a firearm.

After discussing the matter with Parks and ensuring that he understood his rights, Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Shawn D. Nines permitted Parks to withdraw his previous guilty plea.

A guilty plea was entered, and Nines ordered that a pre-sentence investigation would need to be completed before he would address the issue of sentencing.

Once the Taylor County Probation Office has completed their investigation and submits a report to the court, Nines will set the matter down for a hearing.

In addition, John Christopher Oldaker was also present in the courtroom, to enter a guilty plea in his case.

Oldaker was indicted by the Taylor County Grand Jury for failure to meet an obligation to provide support to a minor.

According to West Virginia State Code §61-5-29(2)(a), for his actions, the defendant was facing a potential sentence of not less than one nor more than three years incarceration.

After entry of his guilty plea, Nines ordered that Oldaker’s sentence would be held in abeyance, and he was placed on probation through the Taylor County Probation Office for a period of two years.

Nines further ordered that Oldaker would be responsible for making child support payments monthly, through the Bureau of Child Support Enforcement, in an amount to be determined based on his ability to pay.

Oldaker was told by Nines that if he could complete his payments before the two year period had ended, the court would consider his release from probation.

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