Well, well, well. Case number 4 of missing evidence… Big surprise? MISSING – A whole meth lab complete with meth (Lone Meth Ranger case), Guns (Bandy case), Money( Ronnie Rush case), “marijuana” plants (Buvoltz case), all in the last few months and right out of Calhoun County State Police possession….. (To say nothing of the “sex offender deputy”, Ron Gordon.) How DO these guys get away with it? Where does it all go? The feds investigate and the police, who have lots of experience with lie detectors, “pass” a lie detector test. So, WHAT? Citizens have one less reason to feel our police are credible. Calhoun Population – about 7300. Crime rate AMONG law enforcement is FAR HIGHER than among the general population. And whose name is all over the paperwork on these cases??? I think a lot of us know the answer to that…
What will the FEDS do now? ANYTHING??? Why can no one find out what’s up? HOW can ANY of this counties’ police be trusted? …To testify in court? To do proper paperwork? To be “professional”? How can anyone feel safe in their presence? ESPECIALLY with NO witnesses present? Because when they are around you can be sure they will RUN OFF any witnesses who might see what they are doing. It’s part of “procedure”.
Make your own judgments…
MONEY MISSING IN RUSH MURDER CASE – Police Plagued By Problems
By Bob Weaver
More problems have surfaced for the State Police, in a case linked to one of Calhoun’s most gruesome double murders.
Evidence and missing money problems were revealed during a re-trial hearing for Ronnie Rush, who was convicted of slaying 69-year-old Warden Groves and 60-year-old Mary Hicks of Sand Ridge, in 2003.
State Police in Calhoun have been plagued with problems related to missing evidence, alleged misconduct and failure to perform.
During a hearing last week in Jackson County, defense attorney Teresa Monk said there are problems with missing money linked to the case, indicating the money had been in the custody of officers of the Grantsville Detachment of the State Police.
Monk did not say how much money is missing.
Following a Supreme Court decision for a re-trial, the case was shifted to Jackson County.
The high court ruled that the Rush case should be retried, citing numerous instances where officers violated Rush’s constitutional rights, indicating unprofessional behavior and misrepresentation of facts.
Monk also said during the hearing there is a problem with some of the evidence money, saying that State Police didn’t count the money because they were going to test it for fingerprints.
She said the fingerprint tests never happened, and indicated testing could be done four years after the commission of the crime.
A motion was set aside last week that would have Rush entering into a plea agreement, and a new trial is now set for November.
Prosecutor Matt Minney said the proposed plea agreement required Rush to be cooperative with the State, and turn state’s evidence. The agreement would have required Rush to plead to at least two felonies.
Murder victims Warden Groves and Mary Hicks
A Calhoun jury convicted Rush of voluntary manslaughter, first-degree robbery, nighttime burglary and conspiracy to commit robbery, although the case lacked forensic evidence.
In 2004 he was sentenced to consecutive terms totaling at least 45 years.
TESTIMONY AND THE MONEY TRAIL
Rush (left) reportedly gave conflicting statements to the State Police regarding the murders, once saying he saw masked individuals leaving the house.
Court documents also indicate he told his father that Bobby Ray Shamblin of Stumptown held him at gunpoint while Shamblin committed the crimes.
Shamblin was initially charged with crimes related to the murder, but an apparent lack of evidence prevented the case from moving ahead. Shamblin was released from Central Regional Jail on bond.
Police say at least three different “batches” of money are connected to Ronnie Rush, money that could be part of a $170,000 inheritance received by the victim Ward Groves before his murder.
Former Calhoun Sheriff Allen Parsons and Chief Deputy Carl Ballengee discovered about $1,000 in a GMC Blazer driven by Rush shortly after the murders.
Other cash and coins, reportedly belonging to Groves, was found in a Chevy S-10 truck purchased by Rush from the victim and parked near the murder scene.
State Police returned to a trailer several weeks later occupied by Rush’s father and step-mother where $2,700 was discovered in a trash can, according to a statement made by Trooper Jeff Hunt.
The agency did confirm that former detachment commander C. J. Ellyson was removed from the force, no reason given.
Police have not released public information regarding outcomes of internal investigations, although sources have said officers were given lie detector tests.
LOST EVIDENCE FLARES AGAIN WITH GRANTSVILLE STATE POLICE
By Bob Weaver
Problems have flared again regarding lost evidence in a criminal case by the State Police in Grantsville, according to the Professional Standards Unit in Charleston.
Marijuana allegedly taken into evidence in a case brought against Jesse’s Run resident Stephen Buvoltz is missing.
Buvoltz was indicted by a Calhoun Grand Jury in January, 2007 on charges of manufacturing a controlled substance after State Police obtained a search warrant, claiming they found 91 plants, described as “live green plants and dried stems suspected to be marijuana.”
Police told WVRC Radio in Spencer the plants had a street value of $227,500, an estimate disputed by Buvoltz’s defense.
Cpl. Doug Starcher obtained the warrant and led the drug search on the Buvoltz property, based on information obtained by Trooper I. B. Jackson during a traffic stop a few hours earlier in Roane County.
About a week after police seized the alleged marijuana and other drug paraphernalia on October 1, 2006, Bulvotz was charged with wanton endangerment, police said he was shooting a gun randomly on or near his property, allegedly endangering his wife and others.
Calhoun prosecutor Matt Minney advised Buvoltz’s attorney Rocky Holmes about the lost evidence problem on June 27, 2007.
Minney wrote “I have been informed by the Professional Standards Unit of the West Virginia State Police that certain items stored at the Grantsville State Police detachment have been found to be missing.”
“While the majority of items have nothing to do with active cases, a few of the missing items are relevant.”
“Specifically, I have been informed that some of the controlled substances seized from the home of Mr. Stephen Buvoltz was among the missing items.”
However, Cpl. (D. P. “Doug”) Starcher has assured me that enough remains to be sampled if necessary.”
The search warrant for the Buvoltz property was issued for Arron Lloyd, son of Stephen Buvoltz’s wife Patsy, after two juveniles told a Spencer State Trooper they had purchased marijuana three days earlier from Lloyd.
Lloyd was incarcerated in Central Regional Jail on other charges at the time.
This week, during a Circuit Court hearing, the Buvoltz case was continued to the Fall term of court following further review.
Earlier, Sgt. C. J. Ellyson apparently lost or threw away evidence in a meth case against Grantsville resident John Manis Richards. The charges were eventually dropped against Richards.
Sgt. Ellyson, according to the State Police, has been removed from the organization, reportedly related to the evidence problem or other issues related to his performance.
State Police officials have declined to release public information related to Ellyson’s exact problem, or whether Ellyson will still be eligible for retirement from the force.