“I didn’t think nobody could prove it.”
Eddie Jack Washington signed and initialed this statement on a written interrogation in 1978, what’s being called a confession to his role in the 1974 triple Windmill Park murders.
The last witness of the trial’s second day was former West Virginia State Police Trooper Larry Henry of Williamstown. He and another trooper, Richard Cunningham, had interrogated Washington on Aug. 26, 1978, after his arrest on another matter.
They asked him questions about the crime and wrote down his answers, then read the entire document back to him. Any corrections would be made before he signed his name and initialed each response.
The questions were written in cursive, which Washington has said he cannot read, defense attorney Neal Jay Hamilton said.
Marion County Prosecuting Attorney Patrick Wilson asked Henry how Washington appeared that night.
He did not appear tired or on drugs or alcohol, but was responsive and lucid, Henry said. He understood his rights and signed a waiver.
“He was street-wise,” Henry said. “He knew exactly why he was there.”
In this document, Washington said he knew that Phillip Bush pulled the trigger, he had been with Bush, his car was used in the crime, he knew the doomed trio before this and had met them that night at a local bar. He said Bush wanted to have a physical relationship with Wanda June. He also said that Junior Phillips was killed first, followed by Billy Ray Cobb and then Wanda June, all with a 22 automatic.
Washington went to Morgantown “to cool off and have an alibi.”
Why didn’t he leave town after the murders? the troopers asked him.
“I didn’t think nobody could prove it,” he said.
Hamilton grilled Henry about the protocol of 35 years ago. Did Henry know how Washington got to the station? When? What was he wearing? What was his date of birth? Social Security number? Telephone number? Address?
Henry answered “no” to all the questions.
“That should have been included,” he said of the last set of information.
He had had some training in interrogation procedures, and learned more “on the job,” he said.
Hamilton said Henry and Cunningham knew the information they wanted Washington to give them before they even asked him.
The interrogation was neither audio nor videotaped, although the technology was available then, Hamilton said. Neither the original report nor notes can be located.
Hamilton pointed out a glaring error in the report.
One question asked Washington about his involvement in the Windmill Park murders on Aug. 2, 1978.
Did they actually say “1974” to Washington (the year of the murders) but write “1978,” or did they say and write “1978”? Hamilton asked.
“It was a mistake,” Henry said. “No one caught it.”
Earlier, Dr. Robert Thompson continued testimony about medical reports gleaned from the triple autopsies of the victims.
Each had been shot in the head multiple times at close range with a small caliber handgun. The men died instantly; Wanda lived for up to eight minutes, Thompson said.
The discoloration on the forearm of one of the victims could be blood, mud or an abrasion.
Cobb was blood type O, and the Phillipses were both type A. Only type O was found on Cobb; only type A was found on the couple.
A blue print shirt that was found in an abandoned house on Washington Street in Fairmont also had Type O blood on it, according to a Case Submission Report.
Thompson agreed with the provisional crime report by the late Dr. Milton Hales that the three victims had been shot where they were found, as the defense is contending, and not shot elsewhere and taken to the park, as the prosecution says.
Grass clippings found on Wanda’s bare feet and under her halter top matched the cut grass where she was found.
Jack Clayton, now police chief for Fairmont State and then patrolman with the Fairmont Police Department, was one of the first on scene that morning. His morning shift had just started at 7:30 a.m. when a groundskeeper from the park came to the station to say there were three potential homicides there.
At first, Clayton thought the three were asleep but realized they were dead after checking for vital signs and finding none.
In an aerial photo of the park taken that morning in 1974, three white forms — the sheet-covered bodies of the deceased victims — were visible between the dirt road and the paved road.
The grass was heavy with early morning dew, Clayton recalled. Not far from the bodies they found a tire track, some footprints and a shoe print, which they preserved in castings.
Paraffin castings were made of the victims’ hands, and Wanda’s chest and neck to check for gunpowder residue.
Clayton said two names came to mind “almost immediately”: Phillip Bush and Eddie Jack Washington.
What were thought to be lead shavings on Washington’s hands turned out to not contain lead at all, Hamilton said.
The trial continues today at 9 a.m. in the Division I Courtroom, Marion County Courthouse.
Email Debra Minor Wilson at email@example.com.
Washington’s signature on written interrogation cited as confession to 1974 Windmill Park homicides
“I didn’t think nobody could prove it.”
- Local News
5-year-old Christian Miller attempting to build normal life after multiple heart surgeries
Christian Miller was born with a broken heart.
He came into the world prematurely, when his mother, Jill, was just 30 weeks pregnant. Her water broke randomly in the middle of the night, most likely from an infection, the doctors told her.
Legislators busy until closing bell ends session
In Charleston, the final day of the legislative session came to a close at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, with the closing bell.
Legislators had until that bell to pass legislation, so that it can be put it before the governor for his signature.
Pothole repair expected to begin soon
Anyone who drives knows the poor condition most of the area’s roads are in.
But the pothole-ridden roadways aren’t just a problem in Marion County. And now the West Virginia Division of Highways is planning a multimillion-dollar effort to fix pothole damage across the state.
Ham, Bacon and Egg Show offers significant rewards
The Marion County Future Farmers of America held its 13th annual Francis Marion Ham, Bacon and Egg Show at the Marion County Technical Center Friday.
Dr. Larry Watson is the advisor for the program and an agricultural education teacher at the Marion County Technical Center.
UPS driver inducted into Circle of Honor
UPS driver Eric Falkenstein has been inducted into the Circle of Honor, a prestige earned by driving accident-free for 25 years.
This year, Falkenstein, of Fairmont, became one of four West Virginia UPS drivers inducted into the Circle of Honor. Falkenstein says he owes his accident-free driving to his training.
Make-A-Wish sending young cerebral palsy patient to Texas theme park
Even through 10 surgeries and countless doctor appointments during his 11 years of life, Malachi Parker has kept a smile on his face.
“When he would wake up after his surgeries, he would still be smiling,” Sue Godfrey, Malachi’s aunt, said.
‘Pretty exciting day’ coming at Legislature
The first session of the eighty-first West Virginia Legislature is finally winding down.
Legislators will be meeting for the final day of the regular session Saturday. The session will run until late into the night, with the session finally ending at 12:01 a.m. Sunday.
State rocket teams in national competition
West Virginia students are currently working on rockets that could potentially take them into the top 100 teams across America as part of the 2014 Team America Rocketry Challenge.
Seven hundred teams in 48 states, Washington, D.C.. and the Virgin Islands, including teams from Morgantown, Fairmont, Martinsburg, Glenville, Chapmanville, Inwood, Weston, Farmington and Paw Paw, must build a model rocket that can travel 825 feet in the air and come back down again in 48-50 seconds.
Grant application for Tulip Lane approved by West Virginia Development Office
Improvements are on the way for a heavily traveled road in Pleasant Valley.
During Wednesday’s Marion County Commission meeting, Charlie Reese, director of the Marion County Development Authority, told commissioners the grant application for $150,000 for the Industrial Park Access Road Fund has been approved by the West Virginia Development Office.
Colfax closer to better water, sewer system
Residents in the Colfax area are one step closer to a better water and sewer system.
During a public hearing with the Marion County Commission on Wednesday, commissioners made a motion to sponsor the Colfax Public Service District as it applies for a Small Cities Block Grant.
- More Local News Headlines
- 5-year-old Christian Miller attempting to build normal life after multiple heart surgeries