Area man sentenced for texting threats

WELLSBURG – A Wellsburg man has been sentenced to two years’ supervised probation for text messages in which he allegedly threatened to kill a man involved in the shooting death of his brother.

Michael S. Walnoha Jr., 44, of RD 2, Wellsburg, received the sentence through a plea agreement entered Monday by his attorney, Edward Gillison; and Assistant Brooke County Prosecutor David F. Cross.

Walnoha was sentenced for threatening to kill an employee of the Elm Grove Pharmacy who shot and killed his brother, Kevin Walnoha.

West Virginia State Police reported the employee shot Kevin Walnoha, who pointed a handgun at another employee at the pharmacy while demanding pills, on May 25, 2012.

Through the agreement, a charge of making terroristic threats was dropped and a second charge of harassment was added to another harassment charge filed against Walnoha.

Walnoha faced a maximum jail sentence of six months for each harassment charge, and the 12-month jail sentence was converted to two years’ probation.

Circuit Court Judge Ronald Wilson had rejected an earlier plea that would have involved one count of harassment. He also sought confirmation that the victim supported it.

As the victim’s representative, attorney Jason Cuomo confirmed the victim’s support Monday.

Cross said the charges of harassment were appropriate under the circumstances. He said Walnoha’s threats weren’t made directly to the victim but to someone Walnoha knew and who was concerned he would carry them out.

Gillison said, “He (Walnoha) didn’t mean what he said and never made statements directly to the alleged victim. Unfortunately, the law doesn’t state you have to mean it.”

Gillison said his client has decided to focus his attention on a civil suit filed in Ohio County against the person who shot his brother.

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