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W.Va. man files appeal of conviction in shooting death

November 30, 1999|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. ? A Martinsburg, W.Va., attorney said Wednesday he might subpoena jurors from Raymond Hoak's voluntary manslaughter trial to find out more information about questionable juror notes that were found after the trial.

Paul Taylor has filed papers in Jefferson County Circuit Court asking that a mistrial, acquittal or new trial be ordered for Hoak.

Hoak, of Kearneysville, W.Va., was convicted Nov. 20 of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Larry Hose, 29, of Kearneysville, outside Images nightclub along W.Va. 51 west of Charles Town.

Hoak has not been sentenced.

Jurors in Hoak's trial had a choice of four verdicts, including first-degree murder, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and not guilty.

After jurors reached a verdict, a bailiff discovered a note on a white piece of paper in Circuit Judge Thomas W. Steptoe's courtroom.

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Jurors only are allowed to use a yellow, court-provided notebook to take notes with during trial, Taylor said.

The note contained penalties for possible verdicts, which jurors are not supposed to have, Taylor said.

Steptoe instructs jurors not to do their own research in a trial.

Taylor outlined his concern about the note in a motion for acquittal, mistrial or new trial in papers he filed with the circuit clerk's office Dec. 11.

Taylor said Wednesday he plans to talk to one of the jurors who he heard is willing to discuss the issue.

If the juror declines to talk about the note, Taylor said he is prepared to subpoena jurors in Hoak's trial to ask them about the note during a hearing before Steptoe on Jan. 7 at 2 p.m.

"We'll get to the bottom of it, I guess," Taylor said.

Jefferson County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Ralph Lorenzetti said Wednesday he does not agree with any request for a mistrial.

Lorenzetti said he thinks the note actually benefited Hoak since jurors decided to find Hoak guilty of voluntary manslaughter rather than second-degree murder.

The note was one of many reasons that Taylor feels a new trial should be granted for Hoak.

The reasons are spelled out in the Dec. 11 motion papers.

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