The Free Press WVEvery once in a while, the courts, local law enforcement and the fine citizens of Gilmer County all work together for the greater good and take the action of finally putting their foot down so to speak when it comes to crimes that are abusive and outrageous, perpetrated by a person or persons who have worn out their welcome with bad language, bad deeds, and all done in bad faith.

We even noticed Gerald B Hough, the Prosecuting Attorney for Gilmer County, who is understaffed, and often has a tremendous work load has taken time out to personally get to the bottom of some of the unfortunate goings on involving the long drawn out Cottrill estate debacle, including taking a trip out to the remote Linn, WV property and having a look around for himself, while discussing all the facts with the victim Ruth Mitchell.

On October the 18th 2013 Ruth Mitchell was given the right to live in the home she shared with the deceased Willard Cottrill by a vote of 4 to 1 handed down from the West Virginia Supreme Court. A decision by the Supreme Court is usually final, but for some reason, many were not happy with the decision of the Supreme Court and refused to honor the final court ruling, which led to Ruth Mitchell being forced out of her home last February 2015 by the Gilmer County Sheriff’s office, while being threatened by a Gilmer County Sheriff Deputy with never again being allowed to be on the property. The manner of which Ruth Mitchell was ordered out of her home was so severe she was not even allowed to go back in the house to get her medicine for Parkinson’s disease. Police tape was put around the house with a warning that gave NO ENTRY instructions.

Thirty one days later, Ruth Mitchell was allowed to return to her property after it was inspected by the EPA and given a clean bill of health. No drugs were found in the home as reported to the police by two representatives of the Gilmer County Senior center.

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There has been a long continuing dispute going on among Cottrill family members of whether Ruth Mitchell should be allowed to stay in the residence, but the 4 to 1 Supreme Court decision put a stop to those debates. Those opposing family members which included Venita Cottrill-Murphy and her husband Mike Murphy the executor of the Cottrill Estate appealed the Supreme Court decision (which is almost always a futile effort,) however they would not give up the legal battle—And then, after the decision allegedly sold the property to Richard Neal for $23,000 cash and a 1968 Camaro totaling to $40,000, when the property was once appraised at over 200,000 dollars.

After the Supreme Court decision, tempers flared and threats were made to burn Ruth Mitchell out of the residence if she did not leave on her own, and Richard Neal who the Gilmer County Commission let take possession of one or two of the homes on the property without a proper deed, shot one of Ruth Mitchells dogs and the local Sheriff did not even speak to Mr. Neal about the murder of the animal. Neal was never arrested for animal cruelty. Neal continued to make threats and threaten other members of the Cottrill family when they came to visit Ruth Mitchell.

There were more court proceedings in Gilmer County Magistrate Court where the matter of the sale of property to Richard Neal was challenged, along with his permission to live on the property without a deed, and without the estate being settled since the Willard Cottrill estate had not been closed officially. No accounting of the estate had ever been done.

But NOW, the Cottrill accounting has been completed by fiduciary commissioner Linda Huff. Nobody wanted the job of handling the estate because of the controversy that still exists over the manner in which Willard Cottrill died.  Eye witness testimony, and evidence points to MURDER, but then that is something that would have to be proved in court.

The Free Press WVWe want to go on record saying that Linda Huff should get a medal for all the work she did on the Cottrill Estate.  It was next man up at the courthouse and Larry Chapman the Gilmer County Commission President convinced Linda to be the one to do the hard job of presenting the final and only accounting to the Gilmer County Commission.

Officially the final settlement of the Cottrill Estate was disapproved and the Gilmer Free Press has the entire matter on video as it happened.  If you watch the video, you may also notice that BRIAN KENNEDY, Gilmer County Commissioner was the only commissioner that had all the facts of the case correct, or even knew as to what to do after receiving a letter from Judge Alsop requesting the commission to ACT on the Cottrill Estate Settlement.

We want everyone to know, that it is in all reporters opinion, that we may have had our differences with Brian Kennedy in the past, but we have to tell you he sure saved the day this time with the Cottrill Estate Accounting. The Cottrill Estate had been on the books for five long years. Good job Brian, and thanks for all the CommunityConcerns™  that wanted to move this matter forward. Without Brian doing his due diligence in regard to this difficult situation, we would all be back to square one where we were five years ago.

Thanks to Linda Huff and Brian Kennedy for doing their jobs and not letting us down as citizens. The TRUTH about the Cottrill Estate has been revealed to everyone now.

The accounting was NOT APPROVED because one of the heirs, the oldest daughter of Willard Cottrill was not compensated for the alleged sale of approximately 38 of the 44 acres of the estate to Richard Neal, who moved to Gilmer County from Lewis County.  However, that was only ONE of the reasons given by the fiduciary commissioner. Other reasons were cited, and Brian Kennedy paid close attention.

Thanks goes to Karen Elkin, Gilmer County Circuit Court Clerk. Thanks also goes to Magistrates Carol Wolfe, and Alton Skinner for giving this matter their utmost consideration—Wednesday December 9th in the Magistrate Court of Alton Skinner, Richard Neal was ordered by Skinner to cease and desist with all threats.  All of Richard Neal’s guns were confiscated for five years.

The citizens of Gilmer County who were concerned also noticed that on Wednesday December 9th in the Magistrate Court of Alton Skinner, Dan Grindo a local attorney represented Ruth Mitchell and did a fine job by educating, Neal’s lawyer to some facts in the case… for the attorney for Richard Neal knew NOTHING about the oldest daughter of Willard Cottrill, or the fact she had not been compensated for what looks like a fraudulent land sale to Richard Neal by three of the other heirs.

Magistrate Carol Wolfe wrote up the paper work and got it all into the hands of local law enforcement that served Neal with papers last Saturday to the December 9th Wednesday Court hearing.  In court, Neal cussed a few times and cursed while the story was told how he was going to keep Willard Cottrill’s oldest daughter from her rightful share of the land, and then, ranting about how she is crazy anyway.

Richard Neal was told by Alton Skinner he could not talk that way in his courtroom, or act the way he was acting. Richard Neal was the one acting and looking crazy during the mid-day courtroom session of Wednesday December the 9th.

He sued the oldest daughter of Willard Cottrill and that court date according to Gilmer County Circuit Court is on the docket for some time in March.  Neal wants Marlea to be forced to sign off on the sale which she will not do according to the interview we had with her.

On Wednesday December the 9th Richard Neal was ordered to not threaten Ruth Mitchell again.  On or about the 29th of November Richard Neal stopped Ruth Mitchell from getting to her house.  He had a long rifle over his shoulder and side arm strapped to his side. He then approached Mitchell in a threatening manner, while also threatening the oldest daughter of Willard Cottrill who lives in New York.

This time the system has worked for Ruth Mitchell and even Deputy Wheeler has vowed to protect her, and gave Neal a stern warning before pulling his blocking the road and brandishing weapons stunt he pulled at the end of November.

The Cottrill Estate situation has finally been brought to the attention of the local prosecutor, and if he investigates further, he just may find that there has been misconduct involving the estate since the day Willard Cottrill died October the 20th 2010.

We will keep you updated about the next court appearance in March of 2016, involving Richard Neal suing the oldest daughter of Willard Cottrill and she is counter suing him.

And SO IT GOES in Gilmer County, West Virginia.

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