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Man charged in 2008 slaying in W.Va.

November 10, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A 23-year-old man was arrested Tuesday afternoon in the July 2008 shooting death of a Virginia man who police say was an innocent bystander when he was killed in a spray of gunfire outside a club near Martinsburg.

Elan Bell-Veney was being held without bond Tuesday night in Eastern Regional Jail after being arraigned by Berkeley County Magistrate Sandra L. Miller on charges of murder and three counts of wanton endangerment, according to court records.

Kenneth E. Waybright, 37, of Stephens City, Va., died from injuries sustained in the shooting.

Bell-Veney was found in the basement of his parent's house off Gemstone Court in Martinsburg after police were notified anonymously by phone that he was there, Berkeley County Sheriff's Department Deputy Lt. Gary Harmison said Tuesday night.

A warrant was issued Friday for Bell-Veney's arrest after Harmison said investigators were able to get one of two other victims in the July 20 shooting at the former Orioles Club to cooperate with police, Harmison said.

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Bell-Veney went to California three days after the shooting at 214 Mid Atlantic Parkway and stayed there for about four months before returning home for Christmas last year, according to Harmison and other deputies assisting in the case.

Within three days of the shooting, Harmison said investigators determined that Bell-Veney was a suspect in the shooting, but lacked cooperation from shooting victims, Dale Knight and Donzell White. Both men have since recovered from their injuries, Harmison said.

A lack of witnesses of the 3 a.m. shooting also slowed the investigation, Harmison said.

Knight, who is jailed in Montgomery County, Md., on unrelated charges, identified Bell-Veney as the shooter in an interview with West Virginia State Police Sgt. Dean Olack about an unrelated case, according to Harmison.

A total of six bullets were fired from a Glock .357 handgun that police found, Harmison said.

Knight was shot in the leg and the bullet went through his buttocks, Harmison said. The bullet that struck White went through his wrist and into his neck, Harmison said.

The .45-caliber bullet that struck the right side of Waybright's head, in the temple area, appeared to have ricocheted off the wall of the club, according to Harmison.

Knight told police he and White were inside the club and he had seen Bell-Veney there, too, according to Harmison's complaint. Harmison declined to discuss a motive for the shooting before interviewing White.

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