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Second trial in club shooting delayed again

May 15, 2007|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The story of what happened in the early morning hours of Feb. 9, 2003, when Larry G. Hose was shot to death outside Images nightclub near Middleway, W.Va., will have to wait another five months or so, it was learned in court Monday.

The murder trial of Raymond Hoak of Kearneysville, W.Va., was set to begin this week, but it was postponed Monday after an unsuccessful attempt by prosecutors to disqualify Hoak's attorney.

Hoak was indicted on a charge of first-degree murder in the death of Hose, but the case ended in a mistrial in May 2005 after jurors in the first trial said they could not reach a verdict.

The case has been set for trial three or four times since then but has been postponed, partly because of changes in attorneys for Hoak, said Assistant Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Larry Crofford.

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Hoak testified previously that Hose accused him of having an affair with Hose's ex-wife, Melissa Tanner, and that Hose began calling him on the telephone and threatening him.

The shooting outside Images club in the early morning hours of Feb. 9, 2003, occurred after Hoak and Hose, 29, of Kearneysville, became involved in an argument inside the bar, police said.

Police said the dispute continued outside the bar, which is just west of the intersection of W.Va. 51 and W.Va. 480.

One of Hoak's attorneys maintained that there was clear evidence that Hoak acted in self-defense.

Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Michael D. Thompson played down the self-defense argument in the first trial and called the jurors' attention to a conversation that the bouncer at Images had with Hoak after Hoak and Hose got into the heated discussion at the bar.

After the bouncer told Hoak that he should "let it go," Hoak responded with words to the effect that "he was going to end this tonight," Thompson said.

Hoak's second trial was scheduled to begin today in Jefferson County Circuit Court but was postponed after prosecutors asked Circuit Court Judge Thomas W. Steptoe Jr. to consider disqualifying Hoak's current attorney, Paul Taylor.

Before Hoak was represented by Taylor, he was represented by Martinsburg attorney Heidi J. Silver Myers, Crofford said.

Myers withdrew from representing Hoak because of a conflict of interest in the case, Crofford said.

Because Taylor and Myers have both used former Martinsburg attorney Steve Askin to perform paralegal work for them, prosecutors wanted to know if there was anything that would disqualify Taylor from the case, Crofford said.

Steptoe said Monday in a pretrial hearing for Hoak that he did not see anything that would disqualify Taylor from representing Hoak.

Steptoe said he hopes Hoak's trial can be completed in less than two weeks, and Taylor said he will not have that amount of time in his schedule until October or November.

There are other concerns in the case, including the health of former assistant state Medical Examiner Jack Frost.

Frost testified in the first trial, but he has since suffered a stroke and is recovering, Crofford said.

Steptoe said he is concerned about Frost's health and the judge added that lawyers in the case could use Frost's previous testimony.

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