Defense hopes to add suspects in murder case

November 25, 1997

Defense hopes to add suspects in murder case


Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A defense attorney for one of two Hagerstown men charged with the drug-related murder of a Shepherdstown, W.Va., woman indicated Tuesday that he will introduce evidence that several other people could have committed the crime.

During a pre-trial conference in U.S. District Court, Stephen Herndon, the attorney for Eric Michael Turner, told Judge W. Craig Broadwater that he wanted to introduce statements from several people that implicate other men in the shooting and stabbing death of 23-year-old Jennifer Folmar in Shepherdstown on Oct. 24, 1996.

Turner, 22, and Pernell Jeffrey Sellers, 20, were indicted by a federal grand jury in May in the killing of Folmar in the furtherance of a continuing criminal enterprise. Their trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 1.


The injured Bunker Hill woman was found in a car on German Street near an area known for drug activity, according to police records. She died early the next day.

The five-count indictment also alleged Turner engaged in a continuing criminal enterprise between 1995 and February 1997; that both conspired to distribute cocaine; that they traveled interstate in operating a criminal enterprise; and that they aided and abetted each other.

During the conference, Herndon named several people who made statements to others indicating they may have been involved in Folmar's murder.

Herndon said two people implicated a Martinsburg man in the killing.

U.S. Assistant Attorney Robert McWilliams Jr. took issue with the statements.

Herndon said a roommate of Folmar's heard another man indicate he "was mad at her because she was buying crack cocaine from someone else." That same man also allegedly told Folmar's roommate he suspected Folmar was a police informant.

Herndon said two other men have claimed responsibility for the murder and that one of them was seen after the crime in bloody clothing.

Herndon also suggested yet another man may have killed Folmar, but made the statement to one of the other men whom other witnesses may claim killed her.

Herndon said after the conference that three of the men mentioned are in jail. He did not know where the others live.

Sellers' attorney, Harry Smith, asked that a number of emergency room and autopsy photos be excluded from evidence because they might cause jurors to experience "feelings of disgust and revulsion" and be prejudicial to the defendants.

"These really aren't gory at all. I've seen a lot worse than this," McWilliams said.

"Violent death is not pretty. That's part of the government's case," Broadwater said. He did exclude one photo, however.

Broadwater noted that the defense has subpoenaed more than 30 witnesses, although many will also be called by the prosecution.

The trial is expected to last one to two weeks.

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