Jury deliberations expected to start today in shooting case

August 29, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - A Berkeley County Circuit Court jury is expected to begin deliberations today in the trial of a man charged in a July 2005 shooting of another man twice in the torso.

Jeffrey K. Roach, formerly of Hedgesville, W.Va., was indicted in 2006 on one felony count of malicious wounding stemming from a weekend incident.

Roach decided not to testify in his own defense Tuesday, but jurors heard accounts from his son and his estranged wife, who said he shot Jerry Lee Smith after Smith hit the boy's cousin, Travis Roach, with a metal baseball bat.

"Jerry swung a bat and hit Travis in the head ... and my dad shot him," said Justin Roach, who was 15 when the incident happened the night of July 1, 2005, near 328 Flying Dove Lane west of Hedgesville.


West Virginia State Police Trooper D.S. See testified that Smith was hospitalized for several months from gunshot wounds to the chest and side.

"He was incapacitated," See said of the man's injuries, which were explained in detail to jurors by City Hospital physician Daryl LaRusso. Smith was transferred to Winchester (Va.) Medical Center after treatment in Martinsburg.

The victim was charged with malicious wounding for allegedly hitting Travis Roach in the neck and shoulder area, according to court records.

See and fellow Trooper J.J. Bowman could not immediately recall for the jury the outcome of the charges against Smith.

They said they initially responded to a report of a breaking and entering in progress at Jeffrey Roach's home, a camper next to the home of his estranged wife, Brenda Roach.

While en route to the reported incident, the officers said they learned the circumstances had become more dangerous and that a shooting had occurred.

Brenda Roach told the jury she still has nightmares from the encounter between Travis Roach, her estranged husband, and Smith, her brother.

She said her efforts to track down a vehicle carrying a possible suspect in the break-in of her husband's camper ultimately ended in confrontation.

Brenda Roach said she attempted to tell Travis Roach that Smith was about to hit him from behind with the baseball bat after he had talked with her brother about the suspected break-in.

"I've seen him chase other people with a baseball bat," Brenda Roach said of her brother, explaining how she feared for her own safety, even after calling 911.

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