VIRUS OUTBREAK-COURTS RESUME
Jury trials can resume in West Virginia’s court system
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Jury trials can resume in West Virginia’s court system. The state Supreme Court gave the go-ahead for trials to resume starting Monday. Guidance given to judicial officers on Friday outlined ways that judges and circuit clerks can protect health and safety during the coronavirus pandemic. Chief Justice Tim Armstead says defendants’ rights related to a trial by their peers must be respected even during a sustained health emergency. He says trial participants will be required to wear masks in courtrooms and related facilities, and social distancing will be enforced.
West Virginia Police: Escaped murder suspect captured
HOLDEN, W. Va. (AP) — West Virginia State Police said a man accused of murder was captured by authorities Sunday night after he escaped from a transport van earlier in the day. Dominick Joseph McClung escaped from a parked Donald R. Kuhn Juvenile Center transport van at a convenience store Sunday at 4:30 p.m. McClung was captured by State Police around 8 p.m. and was to be booked in the South Western Regional Jail. McClung was arrested last fall and charged with first-degree murder in the death of 68-year-old Karen Yeager. Parkersburg police said Yeager was fatally stabbed and strangled. It’s unclear whether McClung had an attorney.
CHILD FATALLY SHOT
West Virginia man charged after niece fatally shot
COTTAGEVILLE, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia man has been charged in the shooting death of his 11-year-old niece. News outlets report 36-year-old Andrew Scott Jackson of Cottageville was charged with felony child neglect resulting in death after the shooting Friday night. According to a criminal complaint, he told Jackson County sheriff’s deputies he was cleaning his mother’s gun when it went off, striking him in the hand and his niece in the chest. Jackson was not legally allowed to possess a firearm due to a previous felony drug conviction. Jackson is being held on $150,000 bond in the South Central Regional Jail.
DMV opens appointment scheduling at more WVa offices
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles has resumed services by appointment at the last four regional offices. Those offices are Clarksburg, Franklin, Weirton and Williamson. They began offering appointment scheduling on Friday, meaning customers can schedule appointments at all regional DMV offices as well as the Fairmont Exam Center. Appointments can be made online or by phone at (304) 558-3938. DMV Commissioner Everett Frazier said in a news release that all offices were expected to have necessary safety upgrades for customers and employees completed by Monday.
Students study relocating rattlesnakes away from humans
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Marshall University graduate students are aiding Division of Natural Resources biologists in determining whether timber rattlesnakes can be moved to locations where they have fewer interactions with humans. The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports a three-year survey found the Kanawha State Forest and Coopers Rock State Forest are among the top spots in the state for human encounters with rattlers. The graduate students have captured and tagged 30 of the snakes and are relocating some of them. They will attempt to determine how well the snakes adapt to their relocation and whether they try to return to their home territories. Timber rattlers are considered a vulnerable species and encounters with humans are one of their biggest threats.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-WEST VIRGINIA
West Virginia gov details plans for $1.25B aid package
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has unveiled his plans for a $1.25 billion coronavirus aid package after months of questions over how he would spend the money. The Republican governor’s strategy for the federal CARES Act relief fund was disclosed Friday after local, state and federal officials urged him to distribute the cash as widespread business shutdowns hammered the economy. He has dismissed the demands as politically driven. Justice had long said he wanted to use the package to fill holes in the state budget, though federal rules limited spending to costs incurred due to the pandemic. He said attorneys have determined that his plans for the federal aid are legal.