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Prosecution rests in Hoak murder trial

November 10, 2007|By DON AINES

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The prosecution on Friday wrapped up its first-degree murder case against Raymond Hoak, reading transcripts from his 2005 trial in the shooting death of Larry Hose and introducing evidence he pointed a handgun at an off-duty West Virginia state trooper in 1995.

This is Hoak's second trial in Jefferson County Circuit Court in the killing of Hose, 29, in the parking lot of Images nightclub on W.Va. 51 near Middleway, W.Va., on Feb. 9, 2003. The first ended in a mistrial when the jury failed to reach a verdict.

Much of the morning was spent reading a transcript from the 2005 trial of testimony given by former trooper Nathan Harmon. Prosecuting Attorney Michael Thompson, who tried the first case, read his part while another state trooper took the stand to read Harmon's testimony.

A county employee was drafted to read the cross-examination by Hoak's defense attorney from the first trial.

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Harmon, said Judge Thomas Steptoe Jr., "is in Iraq and beyond the subpoena powers of this court."

Hoak, 31, of Kearneysville, W.Va., was interviewed twice in the hours after the shooting. Harmon, who was with the Berkeley County detachment, interviewed Hoak after Trooper Michael Cole.

Hoak told Harmon he was scared of Hose, also of Kearneysville, whom he said had threatened to kill him before in a long-running feud over Hoak's affair with his former wife. Harmon's 2005 testimony was that Hoak said he and his girlfriend were outside for a couple of minutes when Hose came out and approached him.

In the statement, Hoak said he got out of his car because "I wanted to be standing up and ready ... He's known to carry a knife."

"He raised his left hand and when he lunged at me ... I shot him," Hoak said in the statement he gave 4 1/2 years ago. Hoak stated he did not see a weapon, but saw something "shiny at his waist" as Hose came at him.

Hoak told Harmon he always kept a handgun with him for self-defense, although he did not have a permit.

The cross-examination by Hoak's attorney in the 2005 trial focused on the gap between the first trooper's interview, which began at 3:08 a.m., and Harmon's, which started at 6:35 a.m. The attorney also asked whether Hoak appeared weary or intoxicated having been up for about 24 hours and having drank 12 to 14 beers that night.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Larry Crofford's last witness was state police 1st Sgt. Eric Burnett, who testified he and another trooper were off-duty in a private vehicle June 25, 1995, when a car began tailgating them.

Burnett testified they pulled into a driveway and the other vehicle blocked them in. When Burnett got out of the vehicle the driver "picked up a gun and pointed it at me," he testified.

Burnett testified he identified himself as a trooper before the driver sped off. The troopers followed the car until they got a license plate number, Burnett testified.

The trooper testified Hoak was the driver and was later taken into custody for the incident. Defense attorney Paul Taylor questioned Burnett's identification of a man in a car from a distance of about 50 feet.

Taylor noted that Hoak was 18 at the time and did not fire the gun.

"Well thank God he didn't, sir" Burnett replied.

Crofford said afterward that Burnett's testimony had not been part of the 2005 trial.

The defense is expected to begin its case Tuesday morning.

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