The Times West Virginian

Local News

October 24, 2013

Washington’s trial in Windmill Park murders to begin Nov. 18

FAIRMONT — On. Nov. 18, Eddie Washington is scheduled to stand trial for his alleged role in the triple 1974 Windmill Park homicides.

Marion County Prosecuting Attorney Patrick N. Wilson and defense attorneys Neal J. Hamilton and Holly Turkett appeared Wednesday morning before Marion Circuit Judge Michael Aloi with some last-minute housekeeping motions.

The bodies of Guy Lester Phillips, 20, and his wife, Wanda Jane Phillips, 19, and Billy Ray Cobb, 27, all of Fairmont’s Montgomery Avenue area, were found in the early morning hours of Aug. 2, 1974, at Windmill Park.

Those murders remained unprosecuted until the arrest of Washington earlier this year in Florida. A co-defendant, Phillip Reese Bush, also awaits trial. He is incarcerated at Mount Olive Correctional Complex on a double-murder conviction in 1983.

• Motion to stipulate admissibility of certain pieces of evidence at trial.

Wilson had no objection to seven pieces of evidence, but did have concerns about 12.

• Motion to prohibit Wilson from using testimony Washington gave in a suppression hearing on Aug. 13, 2013.

Turkett said that Wilson had asked questions “outside the scope” of rules of evidence that could subject Washington to cross-examination at trial.

“Mr. Washington gets on the stand and talks about memory or intelligence or lack of memory, and they are all valid pointes to be tested at cross. They put him up there. He is not immunized from that being used to impeach him.”

Aloi said he would hold the motion in abeyance.

• Photographs of the victims in their caskets will not be shown at trial.

• Showing close-range crime scene photos of the three is still in question.

Death certificates of the three can be admitted for cause of death, Turkett said. But showing those photos could prejudice and incite the jury.

Wilson said that state law is becoming more lenient in showing crime scene photos.

“This is part and parcel to our case. This was a homicide. People were killed, and the manner in which they were killed, how they looked, is all relevant.

“They should not be precluded unless they are absolutely, overly horrendously graphic, which they are not. They are pictures of bodies in a field. We’ve heard nothing from the defense why they would prejudice the jury or make them unable to make a rational decision.”

The photos are also “extremely relevant” in case an issue is made of where the murders took place, he said.

Turkett said the state just wants to use them to incite the jury, “they have no probative value ... nothing indicates who pulled the trigger.”

Where the murders took place could become “a critical dispute,” Aloi said.

“The state's theory is that these people were killed at Conley Farm and transported to Windmill Park,” Hamilton said. “If the prosecution is changing from that theory, I need to know.”

“The evidence is what it is,” Wilson said.

“We will raise that issue if and when it comes up,” Aloi said. He said he would review the issue and make a ruling quickly.

• A jury view of key sites in the case will take place after jury selection and before opening arguments.

• A photo array (or lineup) will be suppressed from trial.

• Washington will be permitted to wear nonprison attire and have no visible restraints at the November trial.

• A potential key witness for the defense will be expected to travel from Washington County, Pa., to Fairmont to testify.

The witness, Darrell Corley, suffers from diabetes, heart condition and blindness, and is adamantly opposed to testifying, Hamilton said. He proposed Corley be allowed to give a video deposition.

Aloi denied the request, but said he would consider if Hamilton could give him more medical reasons for the video deposition.

• With three other major murder trials on the docket (Kristyn and Michael Palmer, and Phillip Reese Bush), the jury pool is getting depleted rapidly. And none is black.

Hamilton said that Washington wants to continue to go to trial.

• A special jury questionnaire will not be ordered, although Hamilton may prepare one and submit it to Aloi for review.

Email Debra Minor Wilson at dwilson@timeswv.com.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • American Red Cross Blood Drive today

    Marion County residents have the chance to save lives today.

    July 25, 2014

  • Boil water notice for the City of Fairmont

    On July 25, the City of Fairmont had a water line break in Barrackville on School St. and surrounding areas

    July 25, 2014

  • UPDATE: Senator won't comment on lawsuit filed against him by brother

    A $1.7 million civil lawsuit has been filed by John Manchin II against his brothers U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin III and Roch (Rock) Manchin.

    July 25, 2014

  • Energy Express 1 - CB.jpg Students at Energy Express gain ‘sense of community’

    Children have been learning at Watson Elementary School, even though it’s summer break.
    Thirty-four students in grades one to six started the Energy Express program June 13 and will participate until Aug. 2. It is run by West Virginia University’s Extension Services and AmeriCorps.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • FRESH FRUIT AND VEGGIES -TS.jpg WIC participants to get vouchers

    Participants in the Marion and Monongalia County Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) will soon have another way to get access to fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs.
    Through the West Virginia Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, WIC program participants will be able to receive vouchers for use at their local farmers’ market.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Four new candidates file for city council

    Four new candidates have filed to run for Fairmont City Council this week: Rob Linger in the 3rd District, Richard “Rick” McElroy and Fran Warner in the 5th District, and Jeremiah Rivera in the 7th District.
    The election will be held in conjunction with the Nov. 4 general election.

    July 25, 2014

  • Couple charged with child neglect

    A Farmington couple was charged with child neglect after the wife allegedly sold drugs out of their home with children present.
    Johnnie Brint Thorne, 32, of Farmington, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with conspiracy and child neglect creating risk of injury.

    July 25, 2014

  • Four new candidates file for city council

    Four new candidates have filed to run for Fairmont City Council this week: Rob Linger in the 3rd District, Richard “Rick” McElroy and Fran Warner in the 5th District, and Jeremiah Rivera in the 7th District.

    July 24, 2014

  • WIC participants will soon have another way to get fresh food

    Participants in the Marion and Monongalia County Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) will soon have another way to get access to fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs.
     

    July 24, 2014

  • Farmington couple charged with child neglect

    A Farmington couple was charged with child neglect after the wife allegedly sold drugs out of their home with children present.

    July 24, 2014

Featured Ads
TWV Video Highlights
NDN Editor's Picks
House Ads