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State of West Virginia vs. Charles Kennedy heads into day 3 of trial

WELCH, WV (WVVA) The State of West Virginia vs. Charles Kennedy heads into day three with the state expecting to rest. Over the past two days, jurors have heard opening statements from Prosecuting Attorney Emily Miller and Defense Attorney, D.J. Morgan.

Even with a late start to day one, jurors heard five witnesses presented by the prosecution. Those witnesses included troopers with the West Virginia State Police who responded to the scene on December 22, 2017. Other first responders at the scene testified, as to what they saw and how they interacted with the defendant, Charles Kennedy.

Teresa VanDyke, McDowell County 911 OES Director, also testified to the recording of the 911 call made that day. Also heard by the courtroom, was a previous 911 call made on December 7, 2017 in which 911 operator called back to check on the previous caller. VanDyke says 911 operators are trained to pay attention to background noises during calls.

As day two got underway, members of the jury listened to testimony from expert witnesses. Those witnesses explained items sent to them by state police and how they determine if they find latent print, gun shot residue, and the cause of the death.

West Virginia’s Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Alan Mock, testified the gun shot wound to Emily Hatfield’s head was a classic tight shot. Dr. Mock indicated Ms. Hatfield’s death is homicide.

After the recess, prosecution called two witnesses to the stand about an incident that took place in Wyoming County in May 2016. The sister of the victim and Senior Trooper Shiflett testified about that incident. This testimony is only allowed, per Judge Murensky, if it shows motive leading to events that unfolded in December 2017.

The final witness of day two, Senior Trooper J.A. Tupper with the Welch Detachment, started his testimony of the incident. He testified on how the crime scene looked and and the process he and two other troopers took at the crime scene to collect evidence.

During the testimony, he described crime scene photos, items found at the scene, such as the weapon used to kill Ms. Hatfield. After much discussion, the defense prompted to play the full audio statement given by Mr. Kennedy in open court.

Judge Murensky did tell the courtroom, there was a suppression hearing about the statement, because some information in the statement did not pertain to the case in question. Court recessed until Wednesday once the statement concluded.

Courtroom officials believe the trail will be over by the end of the week.


Ashley Smith

Multimedia Journalist

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