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Two say Cordell spoke of shooting

December 01, 1999|By JULIE E. GREENE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Martinsburg mother and daughter both cried on the stand Wednesday as they testified separately that Chad Joseph Cordell said he'd shot someone the night 16-year-old Joey DeLoa was killed.

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"'I just got in a fight with a kid. He pulled a knife on me and I shot him. I don't know if I killed him,'" testified Kym Hall when asked by Berkeley County Prosecutor Pamela Games-Neely to repeat Cordell's exact words the night of Dec. 11, 1998.

Wednesday was the second day of Cordell's trial on a charged of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Jose "Joey" DeLoa. DeLoa had just moved back to Martinsburg from Omaha, Neb., two days before he died, Games-Neely said before Wednesday's testimony began.

Games-Neely told Berkeley County Circuit Judge Christopher Wilkes that Cordell's motive was anger over a stolen $2 pot in a card game and disrespect DeLoa showed Cordell in the way he spoke to him while both were hanging out at Javier Howard's 405 Porter Ave. home.

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On Tuesday, witnesses testified that Cordell and DeLoa left Howard's home together shortly before 11 p.m.

On Wednesday, Hall told the jury Cordell came to her 425 S. Kentucky Ave. home that night around 11 p.m.

Cordell went into the bathroom and ran water, then approached her out of breath, panting, Hall testified during the second day of trial.

Martinsburg defense attorney Craig Manford tried to attack Hall's testimony, questioning some discrepancies in different statements she made to police and asking how well she heard Cordell.

Hall was sitting at her computer and Cordell was standing about seven feet away in the kitchen at the time Hall claims Cordell said he shot someone.

Hall said she heard Cordell clearly and that he had waited until he caught his breathe before speaking to her.

Hall testified that she was aware Cordell occasionally had seizures but had never seen him have one. She also said he didn't always take his seizure medication properly.

When asked why she didn't tell police about Cordell's alleged statement the first time they interviewed her, Hall said she was scared.

"I just wanted him out of there. I wanted him away from my daughter," she testified.

Hall said Cordell asked for a ride home, which she eventually gave him after he handed her several .22-caliber cartridges and some shotgun shells.

Before Hall's testimony, the jury heard her teenage daughter, Carly Hall, testify about overhearing Cordell tell her mother about the fight and the shooting.

Carly Hall said she didn't tell police about Cordell's statement at first because her mother told her not to tell them yet.

The jury also heard testimony from two forensic witnesses with the West Virginia State Police and the state's deputy chief medical examiner, who testified he found five gunshot wounds in DeLoa's body.

The fatal shots were to the back of the head and to the chest, where the bullet pierced the aorta, said Dr. James Frost.

State Police Sgt. John Giacalone from the South Charleston, W.Va., lab testified that gunshot residue was found on the right sleeve of the Boss survival jacket witnesses say Cordell was wearing the night of the shooting.

Giacalone said the residue can be removed without much effort, or simply by washing clothes.

Earlier on Wednesday, Martinsburg City Police Detective Sgt. George Swartwood testified that the jeans Cordell said he was wearing the night of the shooting were found in the dryer in his 913 W. Martin St. home.

Giacalone also testified that lead particles were found on the left sleeve and chest area of the jacket.

Swartwood also testified that a box holding .22-caliber ammunition was found in a trash can behind Cordell's house.

A .22-caliber revolver was found under a truck cap in an alley near Hall's home, Swartwood said.

Swartwood said when Cordell was questioned by police in December 1998, he said he didn't leave Howard's home with DeLoa as other witnesses testified on Tuesday.

The prosecution rested its case Wednesday afternoon, at which point the jury was excused for the day and Wilkes heard a motion for acquittal from Manford.

While making the motion, Manford said if Cordell did shoot a boy who had a knife, it sounded like self-defense.

Witnesses testified on Tuesday that no weapon was seen around DeLoa's body in front of 330 S. Rosemont Ave. after he was shot.

Wilkes denied the motion for acquittal.

Manford will begin presenting the defense's case this morning with the case expected to be sent to the jury later today.

During a mid-morning break in testimony, one male juror was excused after meeting with the judge, prosecutor and Manford in the judge's chambers. A woman, the only alternate juror, took his place.

Court officials would not say why the man was excused.

After the lunch break another male juror was asked to meet with the attorneys in a sidebar with the judge, but that juror returned to his seat in the jury box.

That left the jury with five women and seven men. If another juror is excused, a mistrial could occur and the case would have to be tried again, Games-Neely said.

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