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Second trial in slaying to begin

November 03, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. - One hundred people will be summoned to form the jury pool for the second murder trial next week of a Kearneysville, W.Va., man accused of shooting another man outside a nightclub near Middleway, W.Va., in February 2003.

Raymond Eugene Hoak, 31, is accused of shooting Larry G. Hose, 29, also of Kearneysville, outside Images nightclub in the early-morning hours of Feb. 9, 2003, after an argument that police said began inside the bar.

Jurors in Hoak's May 2005 trial could not reach a verdict.

Hoak has claimed he shot Hose in self-defense, and Hoak testified in the first trial that Hose accused him of having an affair with Hose's ex-wife.

The second trial, scheduled to begin Tuesday at 9 a.m., previously was postponed because Hoak's legal counsel has changed three times since attorney Kevin D. Mills represented him in 2005, according to circuit court records.

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After the first trial, Hoak retained Heidi J. Myers, then B. Craig Manford, before Paul Taylor said Friday that he agreed to represent Hoak late last year.

In a pretrial hearing Friday morning, Taylor argued for dismissal of the first-degree murder indictment and told 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Thomas W. Steptoe Jr. that the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney's office failed to provide him, after repeated requests, with a security VHS tape taken from the nightclub.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Larry Crofford denied any attempts to keep the tape from Taylor and told Steptoe the recording had no evidentiary value and they struggled to find the tape.

"It shows an empty barroom, and occasionally a janitor comes in and cleans it," Crofford said.

Crofford also said he believed that Manford reviewed the tape and came to the same conclusion. Manford was out of the country and could not be reached.

Steptoe agreed to provide Taylor with a chain-of-custody hearing concerning the tape, but he was not willing to delay the trial again and he did not rule on Taylor's motion.

In other pretrial matters, Steptoe deferred ruling on a motion by the state's attorneys to have last-minute witnesses identified by Taylor excluded.

Steptoe said he would allow the state to present evidence of an encounter Hoak had with two West Virginia State Police troopers in 1995 based upon an opinion handed down by the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. The high court's decision came after the judge denied admission of the same evidence in the first trial, Crofford noted in his motion arguments.

In the 1995 case, Hoak entered a guilty plea in Jefferson County Magistrate Court to brandishing (a gun) after troopers R.W. Bostaph and E.D. Burnett said he pointed a gun at them while they were off duty, according to court records.

Crofford told Steptoe he wanted to introduce the evidence to show Hoak's familiarity with using a gun and to counter prior statements made about the shooting of Hose.

Hoak paid a $50 fine and $62 in court costs, and was credited for time served in jail for the prior conviction, according to court records. A second count of brandishing was dismissed.

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