Billie J. Atwell



Claimant appeared in person.

Joy M. Bolling, Assistant Attorney General, for the State of West Virginia.

An application of claimant, Billy J. Atwell, for an award under the West Virginia Crime Victims Compensation Act, was filed November 29, 2000. The report of the Claim Investigator, filed June 8, 2001, recommended that no award be made. An Order was issued on July 11, 2001, upholding the Investigator's recommendation and denying the claim, to which claimant's request for hearing was filed July 17, 2001. This matter came on for hearing November 7, 2002, claimant appearing pro se, and the State of West Virginia by counsel, Joy M. Cavallo, Assistant Attorney General.
The 19-year-old claimant was struck in the head with a baseball bat by the offender, Jason Haywood, at the offender's residence in Iaeger, McDowell County, on October 31, 2000. The claim was denied because of the failure of the claimant to cooperate with law-enforcement officials.
At the hearing, the claimant testified that Police Chief Joe Ford did not contact him about the incident until January 2001. (Transcript, page 17.) When nothing further was being done, the claimant approached the McDowell County prosecutor's office in March 2001. (Transcript, page 17.) Assistant Prosecutor Eddie Cornish gave the claimant a note (Claimant's Exhibit No. 2) for him to give to Police Chief Ford asking Ford to investigate the incident. (Transcript, page 19.) When asked why the assistant prosecutor didn't simply mail the note to Chief Ford himself, the claimant said, "I'm not exactly sure." (Transcript, page 21.) Unable to find Chief Ford at City Hall, the claimant went to his residence, where the Chief "got really obnoxious with me and like more or less just run me off and didn't even take the note." (Transcript, page 17.)
The claimant was questioned about any personal problems he may have had with Chief Ford, and he replied, "I had been dating his girlfriend's sister and I broke up with her and he wanted me to get back with her but I didn' I think he got mad at me... ." (Transcript, page 24.)
The claimant testified that the offender was convicted of either malicious wounding or malicious assault. (Transcript, page 29), and was sentenced to 2-10 years in prison. (Transcript, page 30.)
Counsel for the Crime Victims Fund called no witnesses and revealed that, although a subpoena had been issued for Police Chief Ford, he was not present.
It is clear from the evidence adduced in this matter that the claimant fully cooperated with law-enforcement officials, and that the only failure of cooperation came from law enforcement itself. The Claim Investigator was directed to ascertain the claimant's unreimbursed economic loss and submit it to the Court. He did so in a memorandum dated March 18, 2003, finding the loss to be in excess of the $25,000.00 limit imposed by the crime victims statute.
Accordingly, an award in the sum of $25,000.00 is hereby granted as set forth in said memorandum, to be divided proportionately among the health care providers.