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W.Va. task force honored

April 29, 2002

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force was honored Friday for its investigation of the 1999 murder of Vatressa Miller and the prosecution of those involved.

The body of Miller, 20, of Hedgesville, W.Va., was found Aug. 10, 1999, in an undeveloped section of the Greystone on the Opequon subdivision. She was beaten to death on July 19.

The task force was recognized in conjunction with National Crime Victim's Rights Week.

"The professional manner in which the investigation was conducted by members of the task force exemplifies their commitment to justice and to the rights of victims of crime," U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Johnston said in presenting the task force an award at a press conference Friday.

Andrew Jackson of North Carolina and Keyston West of Martinsburg are awaiting a June sentencing after being convicted in the murder of Miller and on various drug-related charges.

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Casey M. Holt of Inwood was sentenced earlier this month to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to being an accessory after the fact and to not disclosing knowledge of the killing.

Prosecutors said Miller was killed because she was suspected of being a police informant.

The task force includes officers from the West Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Berkeley and Jefferson county sheriff's departments and the Martinsburg Police Department.

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