The Times West Virginian

Breaking News

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
  • 041814 Fishing 2.jpg Fun, prizes mark annual event at Curtisville Lake

    An annual family fishing event begins at 9:30 a.m. today.
    The Marion County Parks and Recreation Commission and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources are having the annual Family Fishing Day. The event will take place today at Curtisville Lake, with registration beginning at 9:30 a.m. and prizes being given away at 10:30 a.m.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police: Shooting of boy accidental

    A boy remains in critical condition after being shot more than a week ago, and police officials are now saying the incident was accidental in nature.
    On Wednesday, April 9, at 7:52 p.m., police were dispatched to a Fairmont residence after an 11-year-old boy sustained a gunshot wound inside the home.

    April 18, 2014

  • FGH oncology to benefit from cleanup

    Proceeds from this year’s town cleanup and recycling in White Hall will go toward comforting local cancer patients.
    During Monday’s council meeting, recorder Charlie Mason said the town will hold its annual cleanup from 7 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 3, at Fabric and Foam in White Hall. He said only White Hall residents may bring their garbage to throw away, but any Marion County resident may bring metal (excluding computers, televisions and tires) to recycle.

    April 18, 2014

  • Pleasant Valley approves phase two of cemetery project

    Pleasant Valley City Council approved phase two of a project to fence in Samuel Linn Cemetery in Benton’s Ferry at the council meeting Tuesday.
    The cemetery was started in 1852, with the death of Samuel Linn.

    April 18, 2014

  • UPDATE: Police say 11-year-old shot in 'accidental discharge of a firearm'

    A boy remains in critical condition after being shot more than a week ago, and police officials are now saying the incident was accidental in nature.

    April 17, 2014

  • Attorney General - CB.jpg Morrisey wants to work with all to ‘help transform West Virginia’

    State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey wants to work with citizens to “help transform West Virginia.”
    Morrisey was the guest speaker for the Marion County Chamber of Commerce’s “Lunch and Learn” event Wednesday at the Mon Power headquarters, located in the I-79 Technology Park in Fairmont. His trip to the Friendly City followed a town hall meeting in Harrison County Tuesday night.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Behind-the-scenes emergency workers honored

    The Marion County Commission is recognizing the individuals who work behind the scenes when an emergency happens.
    During Wednesday’s meeting, commissioners signed a proclamation for National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week in Marion County. The proclamation recognizes individuals working at the Marion County 911 Center.

    April 17, 2014

  • Wallace residents plead guilty to fishing violations

    Two Wallace residents were cited for and pleaded guilty to trout fishing violations.
    Michael Earl Fetty, 70, and Tammy K. Fetty, 46, were issued citations for exceeding possession limit of trout and conspiracy to violate Chapter 20 of the West Virginia State Code.

    April 17, 2014

  • Military Kids 1 - CB.jpg Military children honored for their sacrifices: PHOTOS

    Military children were honored for their sacrifices Tuesday at the Hershel “Woody” Williams Fairmont Armed Forces Reserve Center.
    The event was planned to coincide with Purple Up! Day, a nationwide initiative that encourages everyone to wear purple in honor of military children across the country.

    April 16, 2014 4 Photos

  • Child health: ‘Room for improvement’

    Children living in Marion County are doing better in some respects than children in other counties in the state, according to a national study released Tuesday.
    “The 2013 West Virginia Kids Count Data Book,” published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, compares states and their counties to each other and to the national average of various areas of child health.

    April 16, 2014

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