The Voice of West Virginia
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A Berkeley County man has entered a guilty plea for first-degree murder in the 2018 fatal carjacking of Joan Marian Staubs, 86, in Martinsburg.
The Journal was reporting Adam Lee Domer, 38, of Martinsburg entered the plea Friday morning.
As part of the plea agreement, he could be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after serving a minimum of 15 years.
Domer admitted to stealing the victim’s car September 2, 2018 and, while doing so, striking her with the car door as he backed away from the scene.
The injuries resulted in Staubs’ death on Sept. 7, 2018.
Domer had faced felony charges of murder, first-degree robbery and assault during the commission of a felony.
The robbery and assault charges were dismissed as part of the plea.
Sentencing was scheduled for Feb. 22, 2021 in Berkeley County Circuit Court.
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Blue lights from law enforcement vehicles lit the streets of Downtown Charleston in the early morning hours Saturday as a procession with the remains of Charleston Police Patrolman Cassie Johnson left Charleston Area Medical Center General Hospital.
The first stop for that procession was the West Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Officer to be followed by a later trip to Parker-Cunningham-Johnson Funeral Home ahead of a scheduled Tuesday funeral for Johnson at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.
MetroNews’ Alex Thomas reported first responders representing multiple agencies were along the route.
The procession passed the Charleston Police Department.
Officer Johnson, 28, died Thursday, Dec. 3, two days after she was shot while responding to a parking complaint on Charleston’s Garrison Ave.
The procession of Charleston Police Patrolman Cassie Johnson taking place this morning. Johnson’s body was transported to the state Medical Examiner’s Office. pic.twitter.com/Y8QQJLQdPv
— Alex Thomas (@AlexHouseThomas) December 5, 2020
Kanawha County Sheriff Mike Rutherford has said Johnson was shot once.
The suspect in her shooting, Joshua Marcellus Phillips, 38, of Charleston, was shot twice in the torso, according to Sheriff Rutherford, and remained hospitalized at CAMC General at the close of the week.
On Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline,” Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin said first-degree murder was one of the charges Phillips would face.
First responders from across the area accompany the body of fallen Charleston PD Officer Cassie Johnson to the Medical Examiner's Office. The procession occurred early Saturday morning. The funeral for Officer Johnson will be on Tuesday in Charleston. pic.twitter.com/Gb9u2hog6n
— WVState Fire Marshal (@WVFireMarshal) December 5, 2020
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RENNICK, W.Va. — There was a time in West Virginia when the Monongahela National Forest was the premium destination if you wanted to kill a deer in the Mountain State. Much has changed since the early 1970’s for deer hunting in West Virginia. However, for Fred Lambert of Oceana, it really hasn’t.
He’s been hunting the same part of Greenbrier County every buck season since 1973.
“We were just looking for a place to go hunting really with the rifle season closed in Wyoming County. When I was a young man, I wanted to go deer hunting with a rifle and this is where I hit the ground,” he said in an interview of West Virginia Outdoors.\
During the nearly 50 years he’s hunted the area a lot has changed. Lambert said the number of hunters has dropped a lot, but so have the number of deer and turkey he sees. During the early 1970’s when he started hunting the area, there weren’t many deer or turkey anywhere in West Virginia but the concentration of whitetails was largest in the National Forest. During the many years he’s hunted there he had only killed one other good sized buck.
“The first one I ever killed, I thought he was a spike and I was at the top of the ridge and he was at the bottom of the hollow,” Lambert shared.
It turned out that buck was an eight pointer many years ago. Lambert said when he’s buck hunting, he gets too excited to count points and instead looks for antlers.
“I get too excited to stare at them,” he laughed.
During the 2020 rifle season, Lambert has disproved several myths often shared among hunters. One is the fallacy there are no good bucks left in the second week of rifle season and second he has refuted claims there are no big bucks left in the National Forest.
Monday morning in the second week of the gun season the forecast called for heavy rain. Lambert told his youngest son he was going to try and hunt a little closer to the road so he could quickly return to his truck if conditions became too miserable. He walked up a drain he knew well, but almost instantly saw another hunter. He turned and headed the other direction and soon ran across another hunter.
“That’s the most people I’ve seen in there in years. I don’t like to hunt near people, so I headed to another part of the area up a fire service road,” he said.
At age 70, Lambert can still outwalk most hunters, but admits he’s not as agile as he used to be.
“I can’t go like I used to. I just can’t walk as far,” he laughed.
He also admitted as he was walking deeper in to the wilderness, he was having a conversation with himself.
“I said, ‘Fred what are you going to do if you kill one back in here, you can’t pull it out yourself,'” he explained.
Undaunted he kept going and soon found himself in a conversation on the phone with his brother who was at Kroger and checking on what supplies might be needed at camp.
“At the end of the conversation I told him, ‘Bring me a ten-pointer.'” he explained.
A short five minutes later–the delivery was made.
Lambert heard a deer snort just as he got off the phone and saw a doe bolting up the hollow below. Behind her was a buck, which stopped at about 60 yards away with his head behind a large poplar tree. A third deer, another doe, snorted and bolted out of site.
“All I had was a little brown spot to shoot at because I knew if he came out from behind that poplar he was gone. So I aimed right at that little brown spot, cut his back in two and he hit the ground,” Lambert said.
Just like his eight point buck from many years earlier which he thought was a spike, Lambert was in for another surprise when he retrieved his buck. It was a ten pointer just like he had ordered from his brother at Kroger minutes earlier. He had no idea.
“It’s probably the second largest deer I’ve ever killed,” he said.
His son was within cell range and arrived to help out. Soon, Fred’s biggest buck since the early 1970’s was hung on the game pole at the foamily hunting camp where many memories have been shared over the years. Now the ten pointer he ordered from Kroger in 2020 will be added to the camp stories for many years to come.
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WAYNE, W.Va. — A suspect in a Wayne County standoff is dead.
The West Virginia State Police on Friday identified the suspect as 34-year-old Randy Ward. Authorities received a call Friday morning about a man armed with an AR-15 rifle in a camper on Whites Creek Road in Wayne.
Troopers said Ward refused to leave the camper. He fired a shot at officers before his death.
Troopers said using deadly force was necessary.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The MetroNews Player of the Year will be announced on Talkline with Hoppy Kercheval Monday at 11:45 a.m. This video highlights some of the top contenders for the award from Class AA. A panel of broadcasters and sportswriters from around the state will vote for this award.
Offensive full-season statistics have been distributed to each voter. Players do not need to be included on this nominees list to be considered. Only one player per team is on the nominees list. Martinsburg’s Jarod Bowie won the 2019 award.
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Charleston city officials on Friday announced funeral services for Patrolman Cassie Johnson will take place on Dec. 8.
Johnson died Thursday from injuries sustained during a parking complaint call earlier in the week. According to Mayor Amy Goodwin, Joshua Marcellus Phillips, 38, of Charleston, will be charged with first-degree murder.
The services will be held at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center on Tuesday, in which the visitation will go from 10 a.m. to noon with the funeral beginning at noon.
Facial coverings will be required and social distancing rules will be in place. Current and retired law enforcement officers are invited to attend.
WSAZ-TV, WCHS-TV and WOWK-TV will broadcast the services.
The funeral procession will go from the facility to Floral Hills Memorial Gardens.
Multiple streets will be closed because of the procession:
— Quarrier Street and Truslow Street.
— The northbound lanes of Clendenin Street at Virginia Street East.
— Clendenin Street between Quarrier and Lee streets.
— The right lanes of Lee Street between the bridge and Clendenin Street.
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The nation’s doctor spoke directly to the Marshall University community Friday on a variety of health topics including the COVID-19 pandemic.
The university’s Dr. Carter G. Woodson Lyceum hosted U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams in a virtual presentation as West Virginia continues to set pandemic highs in nearly every daily report by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR).
On Friday, the DHHR reported a pandemic high of 632 hospitalizations in the state associated with COVID-19. Of those patients, 169 were in intensive care and 92 on ventilators. The agency also added 1,147 new cases bringing the total number of active cases to 17,716 statewide, another pandemic high.
As health officials are predicting the continuation of a surge due to Thanksgiving activity, Adams told the virtual crowd that they need to be patient and follow guidelines in the midst of the holiday season. He spoke about ‘virus fatigue’ but to focus on what works.
“Keep gathering in small groups, limited to immediate family members,” he said. “If you plan to gather with those people outside of your immediate family, try to hold events outdoors when you can, make sure you have proper ventilation when you can’t and always try to maintain social distancing and mask-wearing.”
On Friday, Gov. Jim Justice detailed more of the state’s plans for the COVID-19 vaccine distribution. The state targeted receipt date for the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine is Tuesday, Dec. 15. Justice noted that he’s hoping most West Virginians can be vaccinated by March.
Adams said during his presentation that he needs help to promote vaccine confidence.
“We have a high degree of confidence that these vaccines will be safe. I will get it as soon as they tell me I can get it,” Adams said.
“Given the preliminary results saying they are more than 90-percent effective, we can stop this virus in its tracks but only if people get vaccinated.”
Another aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic that Adams spoke about was the mental side. He said there is psychological harm in self-isolation, quarantines, and the force to change normal routines. He told the crowd to reach out to someone if they are struggling.
“It’s important that we get COVID under control. It’s important that we not forget about all the other things going on out there. They work together to really harm us and that’s why we need to work together to get through this,” Adams said.
Adams is the nation’s 20th surgeon general. He earned bachelor’s degrees in biochemistry and psychology from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in public health from the University of California at Berkeley, a release said. Adams studied medicine and earned his medical degree from the Indiana University School of Medicine, and is a board-certified anesthesiologist.
He had been invited by the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Lyceum in February as part of a series of Black History Month events, but Adams could not attend because of flight problems.
He rounded out his appearance speaking on understanding and addressing the root causes of existing disparities and advancing health equities in communities of color. Adams spoke on what it means to be an African-American in his role.
Adams also mentioned his October call to action of bringing the nation’s blood pressure under control.
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(Bob Huggins pregame Zoom conference)
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia will play its fifth consecutive game away from home Sunday afternoon when they Mountaineers travel to face Georgetown in a game that is part of the Big 12/Big East Battle. This will be the first meeting between the former Big East rivals since 2014, when the Hoyas defeated WVU 77-65 in the opening round of the NIT.
Georgetown legend Patrick Ewing is entering his fourth season leading the Hoyas. He has posted a 50-47 record and is 1-1 this season with a win over UMBC and a loss to Navy.
The Hoyas have featured several of the elite post players in college basketball throughout their Big East tenure, including Ewing, Dikembe Mutombo, Roy Hibbert and Alonzo Mourning. Their style of play recently looks quite different.
“They are pretty much perimeter-oriented. That’s seemingly the wave of the future with one big and four perimeter guys. But when you have bigs like we do, you have to use them,” said WVU head coach Bob Huggins.
“You know what everybody learns when they go from taking the uniform off and sitting in the first chair? Just trying to win, man. What position they are in or whatever, you are going to put the five guys out there that give you the best opportunity to win.”
West Virginia lost a scheduled home game Wednesday when Youngstown State paused activities due to COVID and was unable to play. The Mountaineers instead played No. 1 Gonzaga at the Jimmy V Classic in Indianapolis. The Mountaineers had their chances against the Bulldogs before falling 87-82.
“It is amazing we actually had a chance to win the game. We gave up 60 points in the paint, which has never happened before in my career I don’t think. 23 lay-ins is absurd to give up that many. They got 25 fast break points, which obviously stopping the fast break was a vital part of what we talked about. And they got 23 points off turnovers and we have turned the ball over at an alarming rate.
“For the majority of time I have been in coaching, our guys were so committed to guarding their guy. It was a true battle, me against you. We haven’t gotten there yet. That’s my fault and the coaching staff’s fault. We have to do a better job of demanding that.”
Despite their 3-1 start, WVU’s offense has struggled to take care of and share the basketball.
“36 field goal attempts with 3 passes or less, that’s not good offense, particularly when you are not making the shots. We’ve got to get that part taken care of. I think everybody realizes we have the ability to be a really good team. But in saying that, we have to do what is right and what is productive.”
West Virginia will finally return home to host Robert Morris on Wednesday. Their first four games however will be played in front of an empty Coliseum. Fans may be allowed in at a reduced capacity starting in January. Without a strong home court advantage, added games away from Morgantown could have a positive impact on their postseason resume.
“What makes the difference if we are not going to be allowed to have fans here?” Huggins said.
“Usually I want to play as many as I can play here so that our fans can see us play. But now, it doesn’t matter really.”
By Bill Cornwell
HUNTINGTON – For the second time this season, the Marshall Football team ends an extended rest on Saturday.
Last week was already a scheduled off-week for Marshall (15th-ranked in the Associated Press and Coaches polls and 21st in the CFP Poll) due to Old Dominion’s decision to not play football this fall. The Herd (7-0, 4-0) also lost a November 21st home game with Charlotte due to Covid-19 issues with the 49ers program.
Rice (1-2, 1-2) comes to Huntington this weekend to face the Herd in game which kicks off at noon and will be shown on ESPN+
The Owls were originally scheduled to be in Huntington in early October, but Covid-19 issues in the Houston, Texas area caused Rice to shut down football practices during September.
So far this season, Rice has beaten Southern Miss (30-6) and lost to Middle Tennessee (40-34 in overtime) and North Texas (27-17). Games in November against UTSA and Louisiana Tech were postponed and a contest set for last week at home against UTEP was cancelled after a Covid-19 outbreak in the Miners program.
This will be the 8th meeting between the Herd and Owls and Marshall leads the all-time series 5-2, including a 3-0 mark in Huntington. Marshall beat the Owls in Houston last year by a 20-7 score.
Mike Bloomgren is in his third season as Rice’s head coach and he has a 6-22 record.
Here are three things to look for in the contest-
Kicking off the Rust–Marshall hasn’t played since November 14th and Herd fans should rightly be concerned about some loss of timing and momentum due to the long rest. If Marshall’s offense can come out on fire early and strongly drive the ball against Rice’s defense and the Herd defense continues its solid play, those fears will mean nothing. Marshall had slow starts in its UMASS and MTSU wins, but this team is rested and healthy and has no excuses, no matter the opposition. Marshall is on a mission for an undefeated season and Conference USA title and Coach Doc Holliday won’t let his squad have a letdown.
Bringing Texas Toughness–Rice has only played three games in this most unusual season, but you’re starting to see some significant improvement in the Owls under the guidance of 3rd year head coach Mike Bloomgren. Bloomgren came to Houston from the Stanford program and he’s adapted some of the Cardinal mentality to the Owls, including using fullbacks in a physical running game and a hard-nosed defense. The Owls are also aided by the addition of grad transfer quarterback Mike Collins. The TCU transfer threw for 324 yards and 2 touchdowns against North Texas and has the experience to make sound decisions on when to force plays. Tailback Juma Otoviano will get lots of touches on Saturday against Marshall’s stingy run defense. Receiver Austin Trammell is a threat as both a receiver and kick returner. Defensively, linebacker Blaze Aldredge brings great physicality and his numbers back up his style with 32 tackles, a sack and 2 tackles for loss in three games. There is some youthful talent on defense as well as redshirt freshman defensive end Josh Pearcy has picked up 10 tackles and a team-leading two and a half sacks.
Keep it between the lines–One area that has been an occasional problem this season for a solid Marshall team has been kickoffs. The Herd has received numerous penalties this season for placing kickoffs out of bounds. Young kickers Cameron Shirkey and Daton Montiel have both been guilty of giving opposing offenses a head-start by beginning drives on the 35 yard line. Coach Doc Holliday prefers for his kickers to angle kickoffs to their left and roll into the endzone for touchbacks, preventing long returns. Holliday may have solved his kickoff problem in the MTSU win as punter Robert Lefevre took over kickoff duties and had no problems. Shirkey and Montiel are still listed as the Herd’s kickoff guys for Saturday on the depth chart, but don’t be surprised if Lefevre keeps the job.
Notes–The Herd defense is still a national leader, ranked 4th in total defense (259.7 yards per game), first in rush defense (65.3 yards per game), second in scoring defense (10.1 points per game) and 13th in third down conversions (29.6%)…Marshall is going for ten straight home wins on Saturday…The Herd is one of 5 remaining undefeated teams in FBS football who have played at least seven games, along with Cincinnati, Coastal Carolina, BYU and Notre Dame…Rice’s last win in the Marshall series came in the 2013 Conference-USA Championship game, won by Rice by a 41-24 score. Marshall would win the league title the next year…….Conference USA could possibly give Marshall another home game next week if the league decides to scrap the Herd’s scheduled December 11th game at FIU, instead sending Charlotte to play in Huntington on that same night. A decision on a possible game switch won’t come until Sunday, according to C-USA officials. Charlotte is facing Western Kentucky on Sunday.
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Gov. Jim Justice provided more detail about the rollout of vaccines to fight the spread of covid-19.
“We’ve got to get vaccinated, and we’ve got to get vaccinated quickly to stop this thing,” he said during a regular briefing about the state’s coronavirus response.
Justice emphasized his belief that the vaccine is safe — and necessary to cut off the spread of virus.
“I’ll take mine in front of everybody,” the governor said. “You need to take the vaccine.”
The governor looked toward availability first of a vaccine produced by Pfizer and then one produced by Moderna in relatively short order.
Justice announced that the targeted receipt date for the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine – which was the first vaccine submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization – is Tuesday, Dec. 15. But the governor pointed out that date is an estimate, dependent upon approval by the FDA, and subject to change.
Recent national reports indicated Pfizer will have to ship half the covid-19 vaccines it originally planned for this year because of supply chain problems.
Justice did not mention that today but announced that West Virginia plans to receive an initial allocation of approximately 60,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, with a weekly ordering cap of about 16,000.
For the Moderna vaccine – the second vaccine submitted to the FDA for emergency use authorization – the targeted receipt date is expected about a week after the arrival of the Pfizer one. West Virginia plans to receive an initial allocation of approximately 26,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, with a weekly ordering cap of about 3,000 to 5,000.
Justice suggested West Virginia’s vaccine allocation may increase through the end of 2020. Vaccine estimates for 2021 are not yet available.
Because there will be a limited supply of the covid-19 vaccine when it first becomes available, the vaccine will be distributed in phases, based on risk for contracting the virus.
Justice described the state as aligned with priorities recommended by the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, with the first-available vaccine doses being distributed to healthcare workers, long-term care facility staff and residents, individuals critical to community infrastructure and emergency response, public health officials, and first responders. If health workers get sick, the governor said, “we’re in real trouble.”
More than 100,000 West Virginians who fall into these categories, state officials said.
“Then it all just falls in place, whether it’s our teachers or people above a certain age,” Justice said.
The governor said his goal is for West Virginians to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as large quantities are available. When the vaccine is available in larger supply, it will become available to the general population.
The governor said he hopes by the middle of March “we’ll be able to vaccinate almost everyone,” although he underscored that is his own gut feeling. Most other estimates have been months longer.
“Now that is ambitious, and that’s Jim Justice’s thinking. That’s not the CDC’s necessarily thinking because they’re padding themselves and giving themselves extra time,” he said. “But I think if we push and push hard enough we’ll be able to be out with the general public and absolutely we’ll be slowing this thing down, like, really soon.”
The initial allocation of vaccines will be distributed to five hub locations with ultra-cold storage in West Virginia in Berkeley, Cabell, Greenbrier, Kanawha, and Monongalia counties.
Justice also announced that the plan involves eventually scaling up distribution through additional providers in West Virginia. More than 500 potential sites have currently enrolled to help distribute vaccine doses, and the governor said that he will be pushing for even more providers, pharmacies, and more to enroll.
The vaccines will require two doses — with the Pfizer doses 21 days apart and the Moderna doses 28 days apart. Justice emphasized the importance of receiving both doses of the vaccine.
“If only one is received, immunity cannot be guaranteed in any way,” he said.
The vaccines are not interchangeable, meaning if you receive the Pfizer product in the first shot, you need to receive Pfizer for the second shot.
The drug companies developed vaccines in historic time, using messenger RNA, or mRNA, technology. The new approach to vaccines uses genetic material to provoke an immune response.
Pfizer’s vaccine requires being stored at minus 94 degrees. Modern says its vaccine remains stable at 36 to 46 degrees.
“This is really an incredibly optimistic turn for the covid-19 pandemic,” said Clay Marsh, West Virginia’s coronavirus response coordinator.
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