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Man waives hearing intimidation charges

August 10, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A New York man waived his right to a preliminary hearing Thursday in Berkeley County Magistrate Court on charges he intimidated and retaliated against witnesses who are slated to testify for the state in his murder trial.

John J. Grant, aka "Butter," appeared with defense attorney B. Craig Manford before Magistrate Sandra L. Miller in the brief proceeding with Prosecuting Attorney Pamela J. Games-Neely.

Grant, 22, is charged with shooting Donald L. "Dee" Redman, 29, in the head at a North Third Street residence in Martinsburg on the morning of Oct. 27, 2005.

Last week, Grant was arraigned on two counts of retaliation of witnesses and two counts of intimidation of witnesses.

The waiver allows the state to present the allegations compiled by Martinsburg Police Department investigators to a grand jury.

Police have said they recovered letters containing threatening statements allegedly written by Grant from Eastern Regional Jail since he was held there last year. Grant was arrested in New York on an unrelated charge in February 2006 and extradited to West Virginia.

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Games-Neely has said she wants to use the evidence in the state's murder trial, which was effectively delayed by the new charges filed last week.

Presiding 23rd Judicial Circuit judge Gray Silver III is expected to hear arguments concerning the letters, which police said were recovered in July. Police allege the letters include the names and addresses of two witnesses, and statements "I want them missing," "I want them in a coma," and "They can't make it to court you dig."

Grant's trial was scheduled to begin this week, but was delayed until Nov. 27.

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