The Greenbrier County Grand Jury brought five counts against Alderson Mayor Travis Copenhaver, including two felonies, during the March 2022 meeting.
As of press time on Friday, Mar. 25, the Greenbrier County Grand Jury is continuing with the COVID-19-delayed March 2022 indictments. On the first two of four days, over 40 cases were handed up by the grand jury, including both Copenhaver and his brother-in-law, Lloyd “Billy” William Lightner Jr.
The five total charges against Copenhaver include felony burglary, felony conspiracy to commit burglary, misdemeanor removal, injury to or destruction of property, misdemeanor harassment, misdemeanor unlawful restraint.
In the most recent Alderson Town Council meeting, Copenhaver spoke to the possibility of the indictments after mayoral candidate Ryan Keesee mentioned the upcoming grand jury session during the public comment period of the meeting.
“It’s no secret that the grand jury [is about to meet] and I’m on the docket to be presented. … A prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich,” Copenhaver said. “I think that’s the standing joke, right? [Keesee] could bring us up to how the process works for a grand jury indictment. It’s one sided. The prosecutor goes in, there’s no defendant, my lawyer can’t speak. … You all have already seen the data that was put in the paper. You also know that those items and reality may not be exactly the same. So, yes, thank you again for reminding us Mr. Keesee. I will be on the list to be indicted. The grand jury may or may not indict. If the prosecutor does their job and they have it as good as it is, once I’m indicted, that simply means the game is on for my defense.”
The indictments explain the thrust of the cases against Lightner and Copenhaver.
– The felony burglary charge states on “June 17, 2021, [Lightner], and [Copenhaver] broke into and entered, or entered without breaking, the residence of Charlie Baldwin,” with “intent” to inflict “removal, injury to or destruction of property and/or harassing conduct directed at Charlie Baldwin or any other occupant of said residence.”
– The felony conspiracy to commit burglary charge cites the same incident, explaining that “[Lightner], and [Copenhaver] unlawfully, knowingly, intentionally and feloniously conspired to break into and enter, or enter without breaking in the nighttime, the dwelling house of another with the intent to commit a violation of the criminal laws of this state,” then did so.
– The misdemeanor removal, injury to, or destruction of property charge explains Lightner and Copenhaver “did unlawfully take and carry away a Remington 270 rifle and Black Bear compound bow, said property being the personal property of Charlie Baldwin. Furthermore, upon this same occasion, [Lightner], and [Copenhaver] did destroy, injure, or otherwise deface certain personal property belonging to either Charlie Baldwin or Janah Fleshman located within the residence of Charlie Baldwin.”
– The misdemeanor harassment charge states that Lightner and Copenhaver “engaged in a sequence of conduct directed at Charlie Baldwin, said conduct including acts of entering Mr. Baldwin’s residence at a time Mr. Baldwin was not present, disturbing, defacing, and/or removing various items of personal property belonging to Charlie Baldwin while inside the residence, leaving items evincing their entry inside said residence, as well as restricting Janah Fleshman’s ability to leave the area of the residence without her consent, having Ms. Fleshman contact Mr. Baldwin and then using Ms. Fleshman’s phone to communicate directly with Mr. Baldwin, remaining at said residence, and approaching and verbally confronting Mr. Baldwin upon Mr. Baldwin’s return to the residence. Said course of conduct served no legitimate or lawful purpose and was intended to cause Charlie Baldwin to fear for his personal safety, the safety of Janah Fleshman, or significant emotional distress.”
– The final count, misdemeanor unlawful restraint, states that Lightner and Copenhaver “by vehicular and personal movement, restricted Janah Fleshman’s ability to move her vehicle, without her consent, and situated themselves in such a manner that Janah Fleshman could not leave her vehicle for a period of time under apprehension of an implied threat of violence. [Lightner], and [Copenhaver] did not possess any legal authority for such restraint.”
Since probable cause was found by Greenbrier County Magistrate Judge Tim Stover in October 2021, the case has been pending a Greenbrier County grand jury. Based on the Greenbrier County Circuit court guidelines, juries cannot meet until COVID-19 case numbers are below a threshold based on the Harvard COVID-19 map.
The case next goes to arraignments, where a plea will be entered.
|Mayor Travis Copenhaver during the March Alderson Town Council meeting.|
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