GALLIPOLIS — Charges filed against a West Virginia man for a 2011 Christmas break-in that were dismissed late last year were recently re-filed in the Common Pleas Court of Gallia County.
Michael E. Hawkins, 29, Ravenswood, W.Va., was arraigned last week and pleaded not guilty to one count of burglary and one count of safecracking.
Hawkins was charged early last year following a December 25, 2011, break-in at a residence located on Hemlock Drive in Bidwell.
According to the police report filed with the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office, a room inside the garage at the Hemlock Drive residence where the safe is kept was found open along with the safe located within.
Reportedly, $30,000 in cash was taken from the safe.
An indictment was subsequently filed with the common pleas court in April 2012 alleging that Hawkins broke into the garage, an unoccupied structure, with purpose to commit a theft offense, a fifth degree felony, and that the defendant tampered with a safe, a fourth degree felony.
Hawkins, whose address was unknown to the court prior to his arrest on a warrant on indictment on July 24, 2012, later pleaded not guilty to the charge of breaking and entering and safecracking and was released on his own recognizance.
A notice of a pre-trial settlement conference later filed with the court on October 18, 2012, states that at the conference, the state, represented by Assistant Gallia County Prosecutor Britt Wiseman, “made an offer to Defendant” at the meeting.
Following this, an entry filed on October 29, 2012, and signed by Gallia County Prosecutor Jeff Adkins enters a nolle prosequi in this case, dismissing the charges.
The entry further states that “this matter [is] to be re-filed at a later date” and that the defendant agreed to be assessed the costs of this action.
A new indictment filed on November 14, 2012, is slightly altered from the previous indictment and alleges that the defendant burglarized a garage with attached apartment on Hemlock Drive — a structure that was likely to be occupied at the time of the incident — on December 25, 2011, a felony of the third degree.
A safecracking charge is also specified in the new indictment against Hawkins.
On January 16, 2013, Hawkins, who was committed to the Gallia County Jail on January 14, was again arraigned in the common pleas court and pleaded not guilty to one count of burglary and one count of safecracking.
The defendant’s bond was set at $20,000, own recognizance, and he was released on following last week’s hearing.
A negotiated plea agreement in this case may be filed by April 8, and a jury trial is scheduled for May 8.