Sentences set in Brooke cases

FOLLANSBEE – Sentences were ordered Monday for a Follansbee man indicted for the sexual abuse of a child and another indicted for malicious assault for allegedly stabbing his roommate.

Brian Peterson, 37, of Follansbee was sentenced to 20 years in the state penitentiary for sexual abusing a child in his care after entering into a plea agreement with the Brooke County Prosecutor’s Office.

The sentence is the maximum to which he may be sentenced for the felony offense of sexual abuse by a custodian, guardian or parent.

Assistant Brooke County Prosecutor David F. Cross said the agreement stipulates that following the sentence, Peterson will be under supervised release for 30 years, during which he will be required to register as a sexual offender, to not live or work where children are present regularly and meet other conditions.

Cross said if Peterson violates such conditions, he will be required to serve time for a charge of first-degree sexual assault, for which he also was indicted by a Brooke County grand jury in June.

The penalty for the felony is 35 to 120 years in jail and a fine of $5,000 to $20,000.

Edward Gillison, Peterson’s attorney, noted his client pleaded no contest to both charges, which is not an admission of guilt.

First Judicial Circuit Court Judge Ronald Wilson, who presided over Monday’s hearing, said the no contest pleas would be significant in a civil case but are treated no differently from guilty pleas in a criminal case.

Wilson told Peterson and his attorney he wouldn’t accept a stipulation that Peterson may seek an appeal if the child later recanted her testimony. Peterson agreed to enter the plea agreement without that provision.

Cross told the judge the victim, her mother and the investigating officer with the Brooke County Sheriff’s Department supported the plea agreement.

Wilson also accepted a plea agreement entered for David R. Hoffman, 45, of Follansbee, who pleaded guilty to malicious assault.

Hoffman was sentenced to two to 10 years in the state penitentiary, while misdemeanor charges of domestic battery and obstructing an officer were dropped.

According to police reports, Brooke County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to Hoffman’s home after he stabbed his roommate with a knife multiple times in the torso. Deputies said they found the men in separate rooms, with the roommate bleeding heavily.

The man was transported by medical helicopter for treatment at a Pittsburgh hospital.

Hoffman, who was represented by attorney Robert Gaudio, told the court he acted in self-defense.

“I did everything he (the victim) said I did except he jumped on me and I stabbed him in self-defense,” he said, adding, “It was probably overkill, but it happened so fast. It happened in seconds.”

Wilson reminded Hoffman he had a right to a trial, but Hoffman said he was concerned he would receive a longer sentence.

Brooke County Prosecutor Joseph Barki III told the court the victim and investigating officer support the plea agreement.

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