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New charges filed in Redman murder case

August 03, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A 22-year-old man accused in the shooting death of Martinsburg resident Donald L. "Dee" Redman in 2005 was arraigned Thursday and charged with allegedly intimidating and retaliating against witnesses slated to testify against him in his murder trial.

Already in Eastern Regional Jail on a charge of first-degree murder, John J. Grant, aka Butter, of New York, now faces two felony counts of intimidation of a witness and two counts of retaliation of a witness, according to Berkeley County Magistrate Court records.

Magistrate Harry L. Snow set a $300,000 cash-only bond for Grant. He is accused of shooting Redman, 29, in the head at a North Third Street residence in Martinsburg in the morning hours of Oct. 27, 2005.

According to Martinsburg Police Department detectives, recently recovered letters allegedly written by Grant from jail include the following statements; "I want them missing," "I want them in a coma," "They can't make it to court you dig." The letters recovered by police on July 12 also provide the names of and addresses of two witnesses.

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"In another letter, he advises that he wants associates of his, and family members to make contact with (two states witnesses) and that he wants them 'touched'," according to a Martinsburg Police Department complaint filed in magistrate court.

The witnesses were slated to testify in Grant's trial slated for next week, but the proceeding was rescheduled on Thursday in an emergency hearing. It will begin on Nov. 27, according to Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela J. Games-Neely.

"These letters are a big deal to the state," Games-Neely said. "They literally fell into the state's lap."

In the hearing on Thursday, Games-Neely said she opposed defense attorney B. Craig Manford's motion for a continuance because she was ready to proceed with the trial.

But a hearing to determine how the state could present the new evidence in Grant's trial could not be scheduled in advance of the trial and Games-Neely speculated that the letters entirely changed Manford's strategy in the case.

During a status hearing last month, presiding 23rd Judicial Circuit judge Gray Silver III requested that 60 people be summoned for jury duty in the trial for Grant.

At that time, Manford predicted a "good ol' fashion" trial that basically would center around the credibility of witnesses.

He also doubted his client would accept the state's plea offer - life in prison with "mercy," which amounts to the opportunity for parole after serving at least 15 years of the sentence.

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