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Suspect in trooper's shooting facing further charges

February 26, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG - The man charged with wounding a West Virginia State Police trooper last fall has offered money to two key witnesses in an attempt to induce them into changing their testimony or leaving the state, police alleged Tuesday.

David Eugene Munday, 37, was arraigned Tuesday on one felony count of subornation of perjury and one felony count of conspiracy to suborn perjury.

Munday has been held in the Eastern Regional Jail without bail since the Oct. 10, 2002, shooting of Trooper R. J. Elswick.

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According to court records, Munday and his girlfriend - for whom arrest warrants have been issued - offered up to $50,000 to Johnny Lambert Jr. and his wife, Sandra Lambert. The couple would have received the money if they either left the state, thereby possibly preventing subpoena delivery, or lied and said they knew nothing about the shooting or other events that led to Munday's arrest, said West Virginia State Police Trooper M.M. Kingery.

The $50,000 was to be paid by Munday's father, who lives near Richmond, Va., Kingery said.

On Oct. 10, Munday allegedly broke into the Lamberts' trailer three times and fired a .22 Magnum Marlin bolt-action rifle at least twice, Berkeley County Prosecutor Pamela Games-Neely alleged.

Munday believed that either Lambert or his wife was trying to break up the relationship between Munday and his girlfriend, according to allegations in court documents.

Elswick was shot once above his left ear when he responded to a report of a possible hostage situation at the Lambert home.

Johnny Lambert was the only person who testified at Munday's preliminary hearing in October.

Despite the cash offer, the Lamberts have been cooperating with police, Kingery said. Had they fled or lied, both Kingery and Games-Neely said other evidence, like 911 tapes or statements given by the Lamberts, could have been used in the case against Munday.

Before filing the perjury-related charges, police obtained recordings of phone conversations between Munday and his girlfriend, identified in court records as Connie M. Harrison, 40, of Harper Lane in Hedgesville, W.Va.

Although Munday seemed reluctant in the conversations to discuss the payoff, enough evidence was garnered to file charges, Kingery said. In all, the couple discussed paying off the Lamberts at least eight times, Kingery alleged.

Search warrants were served on Munday's jail cell and Harrison's trailer, but Kingery said he could not reveal what might have been seized. Court records indicate police wanted to obtain mail exchanged between Munday and his girlfriend.

Immediately after the shooting, Munday was charged with burglary and kidnapping. Because kidnapping is a capital offense, bail was not granted.

Last week, a grand jury panel indicted Munday on 28 charges, several of which relate to the shooting, including six counts of wanton endangerment, one count of malicious wounding, four counts of attempted murder, four counts of brandishing a firearm and one count of fleeing on foot.

Munday could now face a jury trial.

Since the shooting, Elswick has undergone rehabilitation in a Georgia facility and recently returned home. He is to continue rehabilitation in Hagerstown.

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