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Court refuses bail for Martinsburg man accused in shooting death

May 07, 2010|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The state Supreme Court of Appeals in a 5-0 decision Wednesday refused to consider a defense attorney's summary petition for bail filed on behalf of a Martinsburg man accused in the 2008 shooting death of a Stephens City, Va., man.

Elan Bell-Veney was indicted in February 2010 on one count of first-degree murder, three counts of wanton endangerment and two counts of malicious assault in the July 20, 2008, shooting death of Kenneth E. Waybright at the former Orioles Club at 214 Mid Atlantic Parkway near Martinsburg.

Waybright, 37, was determined by police to be an innocent bystander in the shooting who was fatally wounded by a bullet that ricocheted and struck him in the head.

Bell-Veney's attorney, Eric S. Black, filed the petition with the state's high court after 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Gray Silver III on March 5 reversed his initial decision four days earlier to set a $300,000 bond for the defendant.

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Black wanted the high court to reinstate the bond.

In Bell-Veney's arraignment hearing March 1, Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Jean Games-Neely did not oppose bond being set for the defendant as long as certain home confinement and other probation-like conditions were met.

In reversing his decision, Silver said he believed Bell-Veney appeared to be more of a flight risk than what Games-Neely indicated in the defendant's arraignment and the judge also admitted that he was not fully aware of the defendant's prior arrest history. Silver said his discovery that Waybright's family was upset about his initial decision prompted him to make further inquiries about the defendant's possible release and Bell-Veney's arrest history.

Bell-Veney's trial is scheduled to begin July 13.

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