Federal grand jury issues indictments

April 10, 1997


Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Clyde Lee Birdsall, who is a suspect in the slaying of his 57-year-old wife, was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury in Martinsburg, according to U.S. Attorney William D. Wilmoth.

The indictment alleges Birdsall made a false and fictitious written statement on Nov. 6 last year in Martinsburg in the acquisition of a firearm that had been shipped in interstate commerce, according to Wilmoth.

A second count in the indictment alleges Birdsall, who has a prior convicition, possessed firearms and ammunition on March 15 that had been shipped in interstate commerce, Wilmoth said.


If convicted, Birdsall faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, Wilmoth said.

Although he has not been charged in the slaying, U.S. Magistrate David Core has said Birdsall is suspected in the death of his wife Erica E. Birdsall, whose nude body was found stuffed inside a sleeper sofa behind the H-Mart convenience store in the Martinsburg Plaza on March 7, according to court records.

Erica E. Birdsall, who may have been suffering from multiple sclerosis, was stabbed repeatedly in the chest and stomach, officials said. The couple lived in a house on Vivian Drive in the Camelot subdivision, located off Three Run Road near Inwood.

Meanwhile, the federal grand jury indicted a Martinsburg man and three others on 13 counts related to cocaine distribution in Jefferson and Berkeley counties, according to Wilmoth.

Those named in the indictment are: Jason J. Smith, also known as Phillip Daniel Smith, 21, of Martinsburg; Donald Conrad Thomas, 26, of Arlington, Va., Gerard Lorne Thomas, 32, of Washington, D.C., and Vincent Aubrey David, 35, of Nandy Park, Demerara Guyana.

The indictment alleges that Smith, Donald Thomas, Gerard Thomas and David conspired to distribute crack cocaine from January 1990 to April 10 of this year, according to Wilmoth.

Donald Thomas also faces six counts of money laundering from March 1995 to March 1996.

If convicted, Donald Thomas faces up to 20 years in jail and a $500,000 fine for each of the money laundering counts.

The other three face up to 20 years in jail and a $1 million fine, Wilmoth said.

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