Berkeley Co. murder trial on track to begin Aug. 7

May 15, 2007|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A man charged in the October 2005 shooting death of Martinsburg resident Donald L. "Dee" Redman is on track to be tried in Berkeley County Circuit Court beginning Aug. 7, attorneys told 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Gray Silver III on Monday.

John James Grant, aka "Butter," of New York City, was indicted by a grand jury in October 2006 on one count of murder. Grant is accused of shooting Redman, 29, in the head at a North Third Street residence in Martinsburg in the early morning hours of Oct. 27, 2005.

Arrested in February 2006 in New York on an unrelated drug charge, Grant, now 22, on Monday appeared before Silver with B. Craig Manford, the third attorney appointed by the court to handle the homicide case since Grant's arraignment in Berkeley County on July 28, 2006, according to circuit court records.

Within a couple of days of his arraignment, attorney Deborah A. Lawson of the Public Defender Corp. asked the court to withdraw from the case after discovering that they had represented the victim "as well as others involved in this case," records show.


In August 2006, then-defense attorney Greg K. Jones was appointed by 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge David H. Sanders as Grant's legal counsel.

Also that month, alleged accomplice Deandre Fullen, 20, also of New York City, was sentenced to one year in jail after entering a guilty plea in Berkeley County Magistrate Court to accessory after the fact in a preliminary hearing, court records show.

Fullen was charged with aiding and abetting murder, but Prosecuting Attorney Pamela J. Games-Neely said Monday that he cooperated with the state in its investigation of Grant.

Indicted in October 2006, Grant waived his right to a speedy trial at an arraignment hearing and a Feb. 27 trial was scheduled by Sanders.

In January 2007, a status hearing was continued until Feb. 5 and about two weeks after the scheduled proceeding, the case was transferred to Silver as a result of the addition of a fifth judge to 23rd Judicial Circuit and reapportionment of the docket.

On Jan. 22, Sanders rescheduled the trial for March 27 because the state told the court in November 2006 that it had a scheduling conflict with the previous trial date.

In February 2007, just prior to the status hearing rescheduled from January, Jones filed a motion to withdraw as Grant's attorney because he accepted a job with Games-Neely's office.

On Feb. 5, Silver appointed Manford to handle the case and as a result of the change in legal counsel, the trial was moved to August.

"We're on track for trial," Manford told the judge Monday.

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