Newell man facing sex charge

NEWELL, W.Va. – A Newell man was scheduled to appear in Hancock County Magistrate Court this morning on charges that he sexually assaulted a 9-year-old neighbor boy in June.

Hancock County sheriff’s deputies had been looking for Kevin W. Halstead, 38, of Jefferson Street, Newell, since filing a warrant for his arrest on July 23, only to learn that he had been avoiding the area by participating in a church camp in Mercer County, Pa., sheriff’s Detective Matt Harvey said.

“The Pennsylvania State Police and the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department received a tip that he was in the area up there,” Harvey said. “They picked him up, and he was extradited back here on Friday.”

Halstead faces three felony counts of first-degree sexual assault and is being held in the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville on a $900,000 bond, $300,000 for each count.

Harvey said the charges stem from three separate acts during one incident at Halstead’s Jefferson Street home on June 30.

The sheriff’s department began its investigation on July 8, when it received a 911 call from the boy’s mother.

Halstead is accused of sodomizing the boy and performing oral sex on him, the complaint said.

Harvey said the case will be presented to the Hancock County grand jury next week and that more charges “may come forth.”

Upon his return to West Virginia, Halstead made an initial court appearance Aug. 29 via video camera from the Northern Regional Jail. He asked for a public defender to be appointed to him.

Halstead was scheduled to appear before Magistrate Scott Hicks this morning.

Harvey said Halstead has no prior sexual offenses on his record but that he was charged with aggravated arson in Columbiana County in 1999.

If convicted, Halstead could be sentenced to 15-35 years in prison on each count and fined $1,000 to $10,000 on each count.