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Dead man's knife in question at W.Va. murder trial

November 08, 2007|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. - There were conflicting statements from people the night Larry Hose was shot to death outside Images nightclub in 2003 about whether the victim had a knife during a confrontation with Raymond Hoak, according to testimony Tuesday during the second day of Hoak's murder trial.

West Virginia State Police Trooper Mike Cole said police took a statement from a man who was with Hoak the night Hose was killed, and the man said Hose pulled a knife.

But Hoak never mentioned Hose having a knife, Cole testified in Jefferson County Circuit Court.

Virginia Johnson, who was dating Hose when he was killed, testified that she and Hose were trying to open packaging on an item earlier in the evening before they went to Images along W.Va. 51 west of Charles Town.

Johnson said she told Hose that he should use his knife to open the wrapping.

Hose responded that he could not use the knife because he had lost it, Johnson testified.

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Johnson broke down on the stand as she described the string of events at Images that led to the death of Hose, 29, of Kearneysville, W.Va., in the early morning hours of Feb. 9, 2003.

Johnson said she and Hose went to the bar and she had a beer while Hose had several beers.

Johnson said Hoak, 31, of Kearneysville, approached her and Hose about 30 minutes after they arrived and there was "a lot of tension in the air."

There was previous testimony in the case about an affair Hoak had with Hose's former wife and that there was an "old rift" between the men.

Johnson said there were comments between the men to the effect of "do you want to go outside. I was just telling Larry, no, let it go," Johnson testified.

Then Hoak and Hose seemed to calm down and Hoak said, "Hey man, I'm willing to forget it" and sort of hugged Hose, Johnson told jurors.

Johnson said Hose and Hoak later met up again outside the bar and Hoak said "Hey man, you want to finish this? Larry said, 'If that's what you want to do, man.'"

Hose took off his coat, and Hoak took a swing at Hose with a knife, Johnson said.

Johnson said Hose seemed surprised and jumped back.

"It came out of nowhere," Johnson said.

Hoak pulled a gun from his waistband, Johnson said.

Hose raised his hands and said, "Someone call the cops, he has a gun," Johnson said.

Hose was shot in the chest, prosecutors said.

Cole testified that Hoak, who was indicted on a charge of first-degree murder, told him that Hose threatened to kill him and that Hose once started a fire near his house.

Cole said when he drove Hoak to the state police detachment in Bardane, W.Va., after the shooting, Hoak started talking to him about a self-defense claim.

Testimony is expected to resume at 9 a.m. today and prosecutors said the trial could last two or three weeks.

This is the second trial for Hoak, whose first one in 2005 ended in a mistrial.

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