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Trio pleads innocent in drug, murder case

August 21, 2000

Trio pleads innocent in drug, murder case



By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Three people charged with murder and drug-related violations pleaded innocent in U.S. Magistrate Court Monday.

U.S. Magistrate Court Judge James Seibert set a trial date of Oct. 10 for Keyston J. "D-Man" West of Charlotte, N.C., Casey Michelle Holt of 84-T Apple Way, Inwood, W.Va; and Andrew Charles "Sway" Jackson of 728 Winchester Ave., Martinsburg.

Authorities have charged the three men with taking 20-year-old Vatressa Maria Miller into the woods last summer and beating her to death with an ax handle. Her body was found Aug. 10, 1999, at Keystone on the Opequon subdivision.

The three also are charged with running a crack cocaine ring. Prosecutors allege Miller was killed because she was suspected of being a police informant.

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The three were charged in a federal grand jury indictment.

Federal officials are weighing the decision to ask for the death penalty, rare in federal cases. A committee of the Department of Justice will make a recommendation on the death penalty to Attorney General Janet Reno, who will make the final decision.

Had Reno made a decision, it could have been announced in court Monday.

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