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Trials postponed for two accused of DUI involving death

Police and hospital records have not been made available to defense experts

September 21, 2010|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The trials for two Eastern Panhandle men accused of driving under the influence causing death in separate crashes were postponed Tuesday until February and March.

Jeffrey Wayne McKinney, 37, of 126 Ramblin Rose Lane in Martinsburg, was indicted on one count of DUI causing death and failure to yield in a March 18 crash that police have said caused the death of Mary Frances Punt, 57, of Hagerstown.

In the second fatal DUI case, Stuart A. Woodling, 32, of 3137 Shirley Road in Charles Town, W.Va., was indicted on one count of DUI causing death and one count of DUI causing injury in an Oct. 13, 2009, crash that led to the death of James W. Shell, 59, in the 2600 block of Middleway Pike (W.Va. 51). Mark S. Geaghan, a passenger in Shell's vehicle, was injured, police have said.

In back-to-back pretrial hearings Tuesday, Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely and defense attorney Harley O. Wagner indicated that records from City Hospital in Martinsburg and West Virginia State Police officials have not been made available for defense experts to review.

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Presiding 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Gray Silver III agreed to reschedule McKinney's trial for Feb. 15 and Woodling's trial for March 1, but also ordered that the requested records be produced within 45 days.

While Silver said he didn't want to blame anyone regarding the timely release of the records, the judge also noted that he wanted to add "teeth" to the orders, and noted he had the power to put officials in jail if his directive wasn't followed.

According to one order filed last month on behalf of Woodling, Wagner asked for records of the individuals who drew blood from his client after the accident, the medical professionals' qualifications and a host of other records related to the DUI allegations.

Police have said Woodling appeared to be intoxicated and testing showed he had a blood-alcohol content of .202, above the legal limit of .08, after the crash happened.

Woodling was treated for minor injuries, police have said.

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