Newell indicted in niece's murder
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The uncle of 7-year-old Jessica Newell, found dead in the woods two days after she disappeared from a Martinsburg bowling alley, was indicted by a grand jury on first-degree murder, kidnapping and felony murder charges.
Michael A. Newell, 39, of 2105 Winchester Ave., will be arraigned Feb. 27 in Berkeley County Circuit Court.
Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely said a motive for the child's abduction and murder has not been firmly established, but prosecutors believe it was an attempted molestation gone awry.
"We believe what happened is this was set up to be some kind of romantic encounter," Games-Neely said.
She theorized Jessica Newell may have struggled or threatened to tell her parents, David and Deborah Newell, and was killed by a blow to the head from a blunt object.