UPDATE: Man sentenced for beating of state senator

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UPDATE 6/7/17 @ 12:45 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A man who pleaded guilty to beating a West Virginia senator just days before the primary election last year could spend as long as five years in prison.

A judge ruled Wednesday that one to five years is appropriate for Jonathan Porter, saying he'll recommend the maximum sentence. Porter also will have to pay a $500 fine and restitution, as decided in the plea agreement.

"I'm glad that it's finally behind us," said Sen. Richard Ojeda, "Ultimately in a perfect world, he would have got thirty years, but it's over with. I have no fear, and I'm not going to let this consume me in terms of anger. I'm not going to do it. I'm going to continue to do what I always do, which is speaking out against corruption."

Porter apologized in court but says he was provoked. He also said that he is also a victim.

Judge Duke Bloom said in court that Porter is not taking full responsibility for his actions and should spend the maximum amount of time behind bars for the crime.

"I don't find his statements today to be credible. In fact, I find them incredible," Bloom said. He also said he will ask Porter not be considered for any kind of early release.

Porter had pleaded guilty to beating Ojeda of Logan County in May 2016.

Troopers say someone asked Ojeda to put a bumper sticker on their car, then Porter beat him with brass knuckles and tried to run Ojeda over.

Two destruction of property charges against Porter were dropped in the plea deal.

The trial was moved to Kanawha County at the beginning of April because both Logan County judges had recused themselves from the case.



UPDATE 4/26/17 @ 10:50 a.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A man accused of beating a West Virginia State Senate candidate could spend the next few years behind bars.

On Wednesday, Jonathan Porter pleaded guilty to unlawful assault, a felony charge that comes with 1-5 years in prison.

He is accused of beating democratic Senator Richard Ojeda at a political picnic just days before the election.

Troopers say someone asked Ojeda to put a bumper sticker on their car, then Porter beat him with brass knuckles and tried to run Ojeda over.

Two destruction of property charges against Porter were dropped in the plea deal.

The trial was moved to Kanawha County at the beginning of April because both Logan County judges had recused themselves from the case.

Porter will be sentenced in Logan in June.



UPDATE 6/2/16
LOGAN COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Bond has been reduced for a man accused of attacking a State Senate candidate just days before the West Virginia Primary Election.

Jonathan Porter, 41, of Logan County, is accused of attacking Richard Ojeda at a cookout described as a political gathering. Investigators say he asked Ojeda to place a bumper sticker on his vehicle, and then began beating him. Witnesses say Porter then tried to hit Ojeda with his vehicle.

Porter was arrested and charged with felony destruction of property, malicious assault and attempt to commit a felony.

His bond was initially set at $75,000 cash.

Thursday, Porter was back in Logan County Circuit Court, asking for his bond to be reduced.

The Prosecutor's Office says they opposed the reduction, but a judge granted it.

Porter's bond was reduced to $25,000 surety.

Ojeda won the primary election to become the Democratic nominee for the West Virginia State Senate in Logan County.



UPDATE 5/11/16 @ 6:40 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The man who was beaten and left in the hospital after an attack at a cookout on Sunday is now the Democratic nominee for the West Virginia State Senate in Logan County.

Retired U.S. Army Maj. Richard Ojeda defeated his opponent, incumbent Sen. Art Kirkendoll, by more than 2,000 votes in Tuesday’s primary election.

On Sunday, police say Jonathan Porter, 41, of Logan County, arrived at a cookout, described as a political gathering. He asked Ojeda to place a bumper sticker on his vehicle, and then began beating him. Witnesses say Porter then tried to hit Ojeda with his vehicle.

Porter is charged with felony destruction of property, malicious assault and attempt to commit a felony.

Ojeda had two plates surgically inserted into his left cheek on Wednesday. He was set to leave the hospital that afternoon.

Despite believing the attack was politically motivated, Ojeda says he won’t let it stop him from focusing his attention on the general election in November.

“I have faced the Taliban and I have faced Al Qaeda. I’m not going to come back here and have fear of people who are not as educated as me. They are not as strong willed as I am,” Ojeda said. “My opponent is actually a friend of mine. He’s a fine young man. He’s honorable. He’s a coal miner. I look forward to an election where there’s no mudslinging.”

Ojeda will face Republican candidate Jordan Ray Bridges in November.

Art Kirkendoll has been a member of the West Virginia State Senate since being appointed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin in 2011.



UPDATE 5/9/16 @ 7 p.m.
LOGAN COUNTY, W.Va (WSAZ) -- Richard Ojeda spent Monday afternoon recovering in his hospital bed after suffering an attack that left him with a concussion and eight facial fractures.

"I don't remember anything," he says. "I remember looking at the sticker as I was applying it to the bumper and then, the next thing you know, I'm waking up for a brief couple seconds and then I'm in an ambulance."

Ojeda says this is not the first time he has seen dirty politics during his campaign for Senate. He says more than 200 of his campaign signs have been destroyed, and he has received numerous threats, including death threats.

"You know, I can't point fingers at anybody, but I'm saying that I do things that make people angered because I speak up," Ojeda said.

Ojeda's opponent Art Kirkendoll says he sends well wishes to his opponent. He also says he had nothing to do with the attack.

"I've been in public service thirty-something years. I've never mentioned my opponents' name in an ad ... I think that speaks for itself. You know, to run that many times and never speak bad about anybody, never bash anybody or anything like that."

Jonathan Porter, 41, of Logan County, is charged in the assault. He is facing charges of felony destruction of property, malicious assault and attempt to commit a felony.

Ojeda will have surgery later this week.

The West Virginia primary election is Tuesday, May 10.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 5/8/16 @ 10:52 p.m.
LOGAN COUNTY, W.Va (WSAZ) -- A man is behind bars tonight after allegedly beating a man running for the West Virginia Senate. Jonathan Porter, 41, of Logan County is charged with felony destruction of property, malicious assault and attempt to commit a felony.

He is in Southwestern Regional Jail tonight.

Porter is accused of attacking Richard Ojeda in Logan County Sunday. Richard Ojeda is running for the District 7 West Virginia Senate seat. He was attacked during a cookout, police called a political gathering, Sunday afternoon.

Family members say Porter showed up to the cookout uninvited.

West Virginia State Police say Jonathan Porter asked Ojeda to put a bumper sticker on his vehicle and then began beating him after he bent down to place it. Witnesses say Porter then tried to run Ojeda over with his vehicle, but neighbors stepped in.

West Virginia State Police also say as Porter was trying to leave the scene, people tried to block the street and box him in on ATVs until police arrived. Police say Porter rammed the ATVs and got away. He turned himself in six hours later to an off duty officer.

Some of Richard Ojeda's family members believe the attacks were politically motivated.

West Virginia State Police told WSAZ that it too soon to know if the attack was politically motivated.

Family members tell WSAZ that Ojeda in at CAMC General tonight, suffering from multiple facial fractures, lacerations, and a concussion.

Ojeda is running against incumbent Art Kirkendoll in Tuesday's primary election.

Tonight, Kirkendoll issued the following statement:

"I was informed that my opponent was physically assaulted and injured at a political function today. I do not now, nor have I ever, condoned violence. It has no place in our political campaigns or in our communities. My and my family's thoughts and prayers are with my opponent and his family and we wish him a speedy recovery."

West Virginia Gubernatorial candidate, Booth Goodwin, also issued a statement in relation to the attack:

"I am shocked and saddened to learn of the vicious attack on Richard Ojeta. My thoughts and prayers go out to Richard and his family. Richard served his country with honor and is seeking to continue his service to his state. Violence has no place anywhere in our political process."

Keep clicking WSAZ for the latest on this story.



5/8/16 @ 6:34 p.m.
LOGAN COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The man who attacked a West Virginia Senate candidate Sunday afternoon has been arrested.

The Logan County Sheriff's Office has confirmed that State Police has taken Jonathan Porter into custody.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and wsaz.com for the latest on this story.

5/8/16 @ 4:30 p.m.
LOGAN COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A West Virginia Senate candidate is in the hospital after witnesses say he was attacked at a cookout Sunday afternoon.

Richard Ojeda, a Democratic candidate for District 7 of the West Virginia State Senate, was at a cookout in Whitman.

According to family members, a man hit Ojeda in the head, knocking him out. The man then hit Ojeda multiple times in the face with brass knuckles. The man then got in his truck and attempted to run Ojeda over.

Family members tell WSAZ that Ojeda was taken to CAMC General, suffering multiple facial fractures, lacerations, and a concussion.

Ojeda is running against incumbent Art Kirkendoll in Tuesday’s primary election.




 
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