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St. Albans man admits to burglary

A man who stole items from a Clendenin home while the owner was in the hospital admitted his guilt in court Thursday.

Marty S. Atwell, 38, of St. Albans, pleaded guilty to charges of nighttime burglary without breaking and to grand larceny.

Atwell told Kanawha Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib he stole a stainless steel refrigerator and stove from a house on Spencer Road on New Year's Eve.

Authorities said the home was broken into four times over a two-week period, and among the missing items were furniture, a carved wooden door, all-terrain vehicles and medals awarded to the victim's daughter, who was killed in Iraq.

Police said in the criminal report that Senior Airman Elizabeth Loncki, 23, of New Castle, Del., was the daughter of the homeowner.

She was killed in a car bomb explosion in 2007 and posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

Those items were stolen, in addition to her uniform and nametag, according to the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department.

A prosecutor said not enough evidence was obtained to charge Atwell for the theft of those items.

He was on federal parole at the time of the January robbery, having served a prison sentence for drug charges.

Last week Atwell was sentenced in U.S. District Court and returned to prison for that violation.

For the Clendenin robbery, Atwell faces a possible two to 25 years in prison. He will be sentenced in July.

"I apologize to the court and to the Loncki family," Atwell said in court.

"I know better. I should not have been on that property."

Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Meadows objected to a request that Atwell be sentenced immediately.

She told the judge she wanted the family to have an opportunity to make a victim impact statement.

Meadows said the homeowner was hospitalized at the time of the burglaries.

Three other people have been charged in connection with the crimes.

They are Alesha Lovejoy Goodwin, 27, of St. Albans; Billy Emerson Woods Jr., 44; and Paulette Marie Dickey, 52.

In exchange for his guilty plea, Atwell has agreed to testify against the others involved.

Contact writer Cheryl Caswell at cherylc@dailymail.com or 304-348-4832.

 

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