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Prosecutor to stay with Munday case

December 16, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

Attorneys representing the man convicted of shooting a West Virginia State Police trooper in the head last year said Monday that the prosecutor should be removed from further court proceedings, citing a comment she made during her closing argument.

On Oct. 28, Berkeley County Prosecutor Pamela Games-Neely told jurors during her closing argument that the case was personal because a fellow member of the law enforcement community was wounded.

"To take it personally makes it a conflict," defense attorney Robert Barrat said.

Games-Neely conceded that she is prejudiced, saying her job as the county's prosecutor is to obtain convictions.

Circuit Judge David Sanders agreed with Games-Neely and denied Barrat's request. Sanders said he has not seen anything that makes him believe Games-Neely is handling David Eugene Munday's case any differently than all the others she handles.

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Munday, 38, of Hedgesville, W.Va., was found guilty of 21 charges related to the shooting of Trooper R.J. "Bobby" Elswick, who continues to recover from the injury.

Games-Neely is trying to obtain a life sentence against Munday under the state's three-strikes law. She said he previously was convicted in Maryland of two separate felonies.

That recidivist trial, which is expected to last one day, is scheduled for Jan. 8.

A motion for a change of venue likely will be filed for the recidivist trial, Barrat said.

Also on Monday, Sanders denied a motion to continue the recidivist trial. Co-counsel Margaret Gordon said she was worried she and Barrat will not be able to find a fingerprint expert in time for the trial, given the upcoming holiday season.

A fingerprint expert will need to ascertain that Munday was the same person convicted of all three felonies.

Saying that fingerprints are not as complex as, for example, DNA, Sanders said the defense should not have a problem finding an expert.

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