FAIRMONT — Opening statements and testimony began Wednesday in the trial of a 39-year-old Pennsylvania man charged with murdering a White Hall man in 2019.

Marion County Circuit Court Judge Patrick Wilson began hearing arguments in the case against Brian Edward Lyon II, who is charged with killing Christopher Moses, of White Hall.

Lyon is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, first-degree sexual assault, first-degree robbery, abduction and use of a firearm during commission of a felony.

In the opening statements, the prosecution team, led by Sean Murphy, laid out the events as best they could with the evidence the investigation produced. Murphy said he and the state have evidence that proves without a doubt that Lyon is guilty.

“Our evidence will prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that evil exists in this world,” Murphy said. “In this case, [evil] is embodied right here, in human form, in Brian Lyon II.”

The prosecution team, through Murphy, continued to lay out the case. He stated that the evidence paints the picture clear as day.

The defense team, lead by Christopher Wilson, kept their opening statements brief, hinting that they will be fighting the first-degree murder charge and will attempt to pick at the state’s case as it is laid out over the coming days.

“It’s the state’s responsibility to connect all the dots for you,” Wilson said. “Once all of the evidence is shown, at the end of the trial I will stand here and show you where not all of the dots have connected.”

After the opening statements, the prosecution team called their first series of witnesses, including the 911 operator who received the call reporting the murder.

On Sept. 28, 2019, according to authorities, Lyon stayed at Moses’ home. The two men did not know each other but had mutual friends.

Also at the house was Moses’ short-term girlfriend, Dawn Smith and her 8-year-old daughter.

According to Murphy, Smith told them she was awakened by Lyon pointing a gun in her face, and demanding she give him her money and debit cards.

Lyon took Smith to the garage where Moses was lying dead, having been shot four times. Lyon forced Smith at gunpoint to empty Moses’ pockets.

Testimony from Smith also claims Lyon raped her at gunpoint and forced her into the shower to wash herself, therefore, removing any evidence. Lyon then shot Smith twice — once in the back and once in the face.

After shooting Smith, Lyon stole Moses’ white pickup truck and fled Marion County. Smith survived due to quick thinking from her 8-year-old daughter, who called 911.

Lyon fled to Pennsylvania and attempted to set fire to Moses’ stolen vehicle before meeting his girlfriend at a nearby hotel.

Pennsylvania police received reports of the vehicle fire. The vehicle matched the description sent out by West Virginia authorities. The two departments worked together to find Lyon and bring him in. Lyon was already wanted for breaking parole and attempted murder in Pennsylvania.

The West Virginia police tracked Lyon’s phone signals and purchases with the stolen debit cards. He was tracked to the hotel near where the truck was burned and was arrested after attempting to flee.

The trial is expected to continue well into next week, with key witnesses being called including Smith, the surviving victim.

Reach David Kirk at 304-367-2522 or by email at dkirk@timeswv.com.

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