APRIL 24, 2015
Conspired with pair of West Virginia couples, report says
by WADE QUEEN
A Lawrence County teen who had been 18 for just twenty-four hours celebrated her new found adulthood by burning down a pair of historic Wayne County buildings built in the mid-1800s with the help of a tandem pair of West Virginia married couples, police reports say.
According to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, the fire incidents happened along Perry Ridge Road in Dunlow, West Virginia on Thursday April 16.
A total of five people were charged with two counts of first degree arson and two counts of conspiracy to commit first degree arson. Those who were charged:
Brittany Nicole Hammonds, of Louisa, who turned 18 the day before fire; John Henry Judd, 22 (who turns 23 on the 25th this month); Gladys Marie Judd, 19; Dennie Lewis Jude, 22; Nina Christine Marie Jude, 21, all four from Dunlow.
John Henry Judd was arrested at 3:55 A.M. on Saturday April 18, wile the remaining four turned themselves in the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department on Monday. Those four were arraigned before magistrate John Cavins while John Henry Judd was arraigned before magistrate Randy Wiles.
Dennie Lewis Jude posted bail of $75,000 at the magistrate office and was released while the remaining four were lodged in the Western Regional Jail in Barboursville. Nina Jude and Gladys Judd remain incarcerated on a $75,000 bond
Brittany Nicole Hammonds was released from jail on a $75,000 bond.
John Henry Judd remains incarcerated on $50,000 bond (Judd is also facing charges from an incident last December in Wayne County were he was charged with the felonies of first degree armed robbery and malicious wounding).
The arson investigation began when deputy H.K. Sowards III spoke with the property owner, Frank Perry on Thursday the 16th. Perry told Sowards the one-room schoolhouse was built in the mid-1800s, and had been on the property along with an unoccupied house about a half-mile away from the school, that had been used to lodge the various tteachers who taught at the school through the years.
According to the criminal complaint filed by deputy Sowards, he along with assistance of Lieutenant James Ward and Trooper First Class E.R. Robinett with the Wayne Detachment of West Virginia State Police, responded to the fire scene. Sowards located Dennie Lewis Jude after receiving information of dark-colored SUV being seen in the area.
A further investigation determined Dennie Lewis Jude was the owner of the vehicle matching that description. Deputy Sowards later spoke with all five suspects, and was able to gain a confession, the criminal complaint report stated.
There appears at this time to be no motive for the group burning down both buildings other that simple fact they did it because they could, just for the thrill of actions they undertook.