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No plea reached in 2008 fatal shooting of Va. man

August 24, 2010|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD
  • Elan Bell-Veney
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MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A Martinsburg man charged in the 2008 shooting death of a Stephens City, Va., man is likely to stand trial after efforts to reach a plea agreement failed, attorneys said Monday.

Elan Bell-Veney, 24, was indicted in February by a Berkeley County grand jury on one count of first-degree murder, two counts of malicious assault and three counts of wanton endangerment in the July 20, 2008, shooting death of Kenneth E. Waybright at the former Orioles Club at 214 Mid Atlantic Parkway near Martinsburg.

Defense attorney Eric Black told presiding 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Gray Silver III that he believes they have a "strong" self-defense argument for the trial and evidence suggests his client was a victim of a robbery.

Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Jean Games-Neely told the court Monday that "no common ground" existed between Waybright's family and the defense to resolve the case.

Bell-Veney's trial is not expected to be scheduled until after he is sentenced in an unrelated case pending in U.S. District Court in Martinsburg.

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Earlier this month, Bell-Veney pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of being a drug user in possession of a firearm in May 2009.

In the state's case against Bell-Veney, Waybright, 37, was determined by police to be an innocent bystander in the shooting. Waybright, according to police, was fatally wounded by a bullet that ricocheted and struck him in the head.

Police have said that Bell-Veney had been arguing with another man before Bell-Veney began shooting, according to court records.

Two other men were wounded in the shooting, but since have recovered from their injuries, police have said.

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