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Men charged in W.Va. killing to stand trial in 2009

December 02, 2008|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Two men charged with first-degree murder in the September 2004 death of Keese Bare, 27, are scheduled to stand trial in February.

Vernon Kerns, 25, of Berkeley Springs, who was also charged with conspiracy to commit murder, was to be tried on Dec. 9 in Morgan County Circuit Court.

A continuance was requested in October by his attorney, Sherman L. Lambert, and the new date for the trial is Feb. 17, said Morgan County prosecutor Debra MH McLaughlin.

Kerns was indicted by a grand jury in September 2007 along with Jason Payne, 26, of Berkeley Springs, who was convicted of second-degree murder in May for his involvement in Bare's death. He received a 40-year sentence.

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Jerome William Smith, 24, of Frederick County, Va., was indicted by a grand jury in September. His trial date is set for Feb. 3.

The pretrial hearing for Smith and Kerns is scheduled for Jan. 22.

The remains of Keese Bare were discovered in 2006 at a Potomac River camp site, where his body had been burned in a fire pit.

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