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Berkeley County man charged with murder in man's death

July 20, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Berkeley County man has been charged with one count of second-degree murder in connection with the July 13 death of Douglas "Scott" Funk II, according to Berkeley County Magistrate Court records filed Thursday.

Christopher Michael Speikers, 21, of 13095 Back Creek Valley Road, was arraigned by Magistrate Jim Humphrey who set a $500,000 cash-only bond.

Speikers is accused of punching Funk in the nose, then choking the 23-year-old Hedgesville-area man into unconsciousness in a July 12 fight at Funk's home.

Funk was taken from his home in the Brookstone subdivision at 244 Dinner Belle Court to City Hospital shortly after a 911 dispatcher alerted West Virginia State Police Trooper J.S. Chumley of the emergency at 5:49 p.m., according to the officer's complaint filed Wednesday.

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"During the emergency call, the accused stated, 'I went too far!'" Chumley said. "According to witnesses at (Funk's home) and the accused, they waited for '1 1/2 minutes' and up to '5 minutes' before calling 911 for assistance."

Speikers was arraigned July 13 on one count of malicious assault while Funk was in the hospital's intensive care unit, where a machine was being used to help him breathe, Chumley said last week. Funk died July 13 at 9:36 p.m., several hours after Speikers was arraigned, according to court records.

The felony count of malicious assault filed against Speikers was dismissed Thursday when he was arraigned in Berkeley County Magistrate Court on the new charge, Prosecutor Pamela J. Games-Neely said.

Games-Neely said Speikers had not been released from Eastern Regional Jail since his initial arraignment. She indicated he was not accompanied by an attorney Thursday, and expected a preliminary hearing to be held for Speikers within 10 days.

The second-degree murder charge came after Games-Neely met with Chumley on Tuesday to review the case, and she said the officer determined there was probable cause to revise the state's allegations against the man. Chumley obtained the second warrant Wednesday from Magistrate Harry L. Snow.

In the second complaint, Chumley also said that Speikers had the chance to end the fight after causing Funk's nose to bleed, but "chose to sit on the victim, holding him down and subsequently choking him to go unconscious ..."

In the trooper's initial complaint filed last week, Speikers indicated that he intervened in a fight that started between Funk and his 15-year-old brother, who was not charged.

Chumley said that neither Speikers nor his brother were injured in the fight. Both indicated the altercation did not involve weapons, he said.

After hitting him in the nose, Chumley said Speikers told police that he "placed his arm under the victim's chin/throat area and placed the heel of his hand on top of the victim's head and pushed down on the victim's head toward the floor."

A second-degree murder conviction carries a possibility of 10 to 40 years in prison, according to court records.

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