Solicitation Plea Expected To Result In Prison Time

As a result of drug use leading to an “extraordinarily dangerous crime,” Eric Shiflett is expected to serve time in the near future.

In February 2020, Shifflet was indicted on two charges – soliciting a minor via computer and use of obscene matter with intent to seduce a minor. On August 27, Shifflet plead guilty to the solicitation of a minor charge listed in the indictment.

The case moved forward to sentencing under Greenbrier County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dent on Monday, November 29.

Greenbrier County Prosecuting Attorney Patrick Via explained that the state would oppose any alternative sentencing in this case.

“The state is very firm in its opinion that the offence for which the defendant has been convicted compels the imposition of a Division of Corrections sentence for two to ten years,” said Via. “… The defendant still remains convicted before the court of enticing or soliciting a minor. [This emerged from an undercover] operation being conducted, I believe, by the West Virginia State Police. While I recognize there’s no victim per se, the reality was that Mr. Shifflet was attempting to solicit, and did solicit, for purposes of sexual intercourse, a child that he knew believed to be 14 years of age and he being 51 years. It’s an extraordinarily dangerous crime. It reflects predatory intentions on his part. They were never consummated, of course, but his intention with respect to the acts that he undertook were extraordinarily dangerous to this community generally, but specifically to any children in the community.”

“Despite the fact he’s not gotten in any trouble and that he has done some things that have enhanced his position, it does not change the fact that the crime itself of which he stays convicted is a particularly dangerous one,” Via continued. “The state would ask for the imposition of a Division of Corrections sentence accordingly.”

Shifflet attended a 28-day program in January 2020, but information in the report gave Dent a cause for concern.

“At the time of the presentencing interview, the drug test indicated you were positive for methamphetamines,” Dent noted.

This is directly relevant to the case, Dent explained, because of her “concern that [Shifflet indicated], even in the report, that [his] use of methamphetamines played a role in the commission of this crime.”

A sentence was not issued, however. Dent looked to the Getting Over Addictive Lifestyles Successfully (GOALS) Program with the Division of Corrections for a potential solution for what seems to be an ongoing problem that could continue after Shifflet would be released.

“At this time, what I’m going to do is refer you to the GOALs program to see if you are eligible or not,” Dent explained. “… Once I have that information, I’ll come back to the sentencing hearing to determine if that is an option I wish to consider or not.”

This program, however, does not mean Shifflet would be a free man or outside of prison.

“I do not believe you are a probation candidate at this time, nor an alternative sentence like Home Incarceration,” Dent said. “If you would be accepted into the GOALs program, that would be something the court would consider because that would address the substance abuse problem. … Until that gets under control, you remain a threat to the community.”

This also does not mean Shifflet was free to leave the courtroom after the hearing.

“You will be remanded to the jail today because the assessment for the GOALs program [is in] … in the Department of Corrections,” Dent said. “Once I receive the report regarding that referral, I will reschedule [sentencing].”

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