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Lawyers focus on police questioning in slayings

August 28, 2007|By DAVE McMILLION

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - Lawyers representing a Martinsburg man charged in a 2005 double-homicide in a Paynes Ford Road home are focusing on how their client was questioned by police after the killings.

The issues were explored Monday morning during a pretrial hearing for Wade Warren Painter in Berkeley County Circuit Court.

Painter, of 385 Pond Lane, was indicted last year on two counts of first-degree murder, along with counts of possession of a stolen vehicle, grand larceny, daytime burglary and petit larceny, records show.

Painter is accused of killing Raymond White Jr., 64, and White's 20-year-old son, Raymond White IV, both of 1734 Paynes Ford Road. Police determined that Raymond White Jr. was shot twice and severely beaten, and his son was found shot once above his right ear on Sept. 14, 2005, sometime between 3 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Berkeley County Sheriff Randy Smith said there was a "vicious encounter" when the men were killed, and he said the crime scene was one of the worst he had seen in his 19 years in law enforcement.

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Painter started talking to investigators after the killings, but at one point said he did not want to talk any more and wanted an attorney, Cpl. Brendan Hall of the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department testified Monday in a hearing before Judge Christopher Wilkes.

Painter said he wanted to talk to Capt. Dennis Streets, who knew Painter on a personal level, Hall testified.

Painter talked to Streets, but Painter later decided again that he did not want to talk to police, Hall said.

Defense lawyers are focusing on the questioning of Painter because police cannot question a suspect after the person has asked for an attorney, defense attorney Andy Arnold said after the hearing.

Defense attorneys also are focusing on how Painter's home was searched. Angela Conner, Painter's girlfriend at the time, gave police permission to search the home but Painter did not, Arnold said after the hearing.

Lawyers, including Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely, did not finish the hearing. It was continued until Sept. 6 at 1 p.m.

Painter's trial is scheduled for Sept. 11.

Painter was taken into police custody a day after the men's bodies were found. He had been spotted driving a Mazda MX-6 that belonged to the younger White and was stolen from the home, and he used the older White's credit card to buy motor oil for the car, police said.

Bloody clothing was found at Painter's home, along with guns, jewelry, home movies and other items stolen from the victims' home, police said.

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