A “redneck gang” could be responsible for the 2003 sniper-style killings that shook West Virginia, the host of a crime-fighting public access television show claims.

Andy Palmer, host of “West Virginia’s Most Wanted,” will air an episode Friday containing what he says is new information that could lead to the capture of a gang calling themselves the Charleston Five, who an informant claims are responsible for the three killings.

Two victims were chosen randomly to throw suspicion off the gang for killing its intended target, Jeanie Patton of Campbells Creek, Palmer said Thursday.

“They threw the other two in the pot to make it look random,” said Palmer, who is also the founder of an anti-gang group called Chain Breakers.

The unidentified informant, who is featured on the program, alleges that the gang told him they planned to carry out the August 2003 sniper-style killings at separate convenience stores of Patton, Gary Carrier Jr. of South Charleston and Okey Meadows Jr. of Campbells Creek. And the trigger for the crimes was a stolen automobile engine, Palmer said Thursday.

The leader of the gang sought to murder Patton because her boyfriend had stolen a car engine that belonged to him, Palmer said.

“As it was told to me, he said he had lost something he loved, and now he was going to take away something this individual loved,” Palmer said.

Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster said he had received the information from Palmer and the informant recently, and investigators looking into it.

“We’ll take this information and try to corroborate it,” Webster said. Webster said he couldn’t comment further on the details of Palmer’s information, including whether police believe there is such a gang as the Charleston Five.

An agent at the Charleston office of the FBI, which is also investigating the murders, said the bureau does not comment on ongoing investigations.

The shootings terrorized the Kanawha Valley as they seemed to involve strangers killed randomly. Carrier was killed on Aug. 10 while talking on a pay phone outside a Charleston Go-Mart store. Four days later, Patton and Meadows were shot within 90 minutes of each other at convenience stores about 10 miles apart. Meadows was buying milk at a pay window, while Patton was filling her car with gas.

The victims didn’t appear to know each other, but all were shot in the neck and head area with the same .22-caliber rifle — the most popular small-caliber rifle in the state.

Despite a $100,000 reward and hundreds of investigators pursuing thousands of leads, no arrests have been made.

On the program, Palmer shows videotape of the informant, shot from the neck down, being administered a polygraph test and later being interviewed at Palmer’s home. The man is shown rocking back and forth while relating what he says are the details of the crime.

The man says the members of the group — which Palmer dubbed “a redneck gang” — bragged to him about the murders before committing them. The gang also threatened to poison his wife with the toxin ricin, the man says, a threat he believes they carried out, leading to his wife’s miscarriage.

On the program, set to air three times Friday on the state Library Commission’s Library Television Network, Palmer interviews Patton’s father, Larry “Rodney” Patton, who initially approached Palmer and asked him to look into the murders.

“It seems unreal that she’s gone,” Patton said of his daughter. “Why they’d want to kill her, I don’t know.”

Although the tale may seem outlandish, Palmer pointed to the polygraph test given to the informant.

“I really believe this is the truth,” Palmer said.

Palmer said the attention he’s bringing to the matter has caused him to take precautions against possible reprisals by the gang, he said.

“I’d rather die trying to do something good for my community than to live doing nothing at all,” he said.

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