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Woman pleads not guilty in Miller slaying

February 14, 2000|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - An Inwood, W.Va., woman charged with killing a local woman last summer to maintain a crack cocaine enterprise was arraigned Monday and a man was arraigned on drug charges.

Casey Michelle Holt, 25, of 94-T Apple Way, pleaded not guilty after being arraigned on charges of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine, engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise and intentionally killing Vatressa Maria Miller in furtherance of that enterprise, according to U.S. Attorney's office spokeswoman Fawn Thomas.

Kirk Leon Grantham, 22, of Martinsburg, also was arraigned on charges of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and distribution of crack cocaine, according to his attorney, David Camilletti.

Grantham, who was not charged in the slaying, also pleaded not guilty, Camilletti said.

A second person charged in Miller's death could not be arraigned because he had not arrived in the area by Monday morning, according to Thomas and court officials.

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Keyston J. "D-Man" West, 22, was arrested by police in West Monroe, La., last month. Federal authorities would not say Monday what delayed West's appearance in U.S. District Court in Martinsburg.

West was indicted on charges of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and killing Miller in furtherance of that conspiracy.

An employee at the U.S. Attorney's office said West arrived later Monday and made a brief initial appearance. He was not arraigned.

A fourth person, Andrew "Sway" Jackson, 21, of Martinsburg, has already been arraigned in the case.

Jackson is charged with running the crack ring and is also charged in Miller's slaying.

Federal prosecutors are planning to try all four defendants at the same time beginning April 19, Thomas said.

Prosecutors allege that Jackson, West, Holt and an unnamed person took Miller from Holt's home to a secluded area of Berkeley County and beat her to death with an ax handle.

They allege that the 20-year-old woman was killed because the defendants believed she was a police informant.

Miller's body was discovered Aug. 10 in a wooded area in the Greystone on the Opequon subdivision after a man walking through the area saw a pair of shoes and investigated.

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