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Trials delayed for 2 W.Va. men charged in fatal DUIs

February 03, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The trials of two Eastern Panhandle men accused of drunken driving that caused deaths in separate crashes were postponed again on Thursday.

Jeffrey Wayne McKinney, 38, of 126 Ramblin Rose Lane in Martinsburg, was indicted on one count of driving under the influence 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 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.

Woodling's trial, which was scheduled to begin March 1, was bumped to April 26, but Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely said she and defense attorney Harley O. Wagner were close to possibly resolving the case through a plea agreement.

McKinney's Feb. 15 trial was inadvertently scheduled on top of grand jury proceedings to begin the same day, and Games-Neely said more time also was needed to clarify evidentiary information provided by the West Virginia State Police Crime Lab.

McKinney's trial now is scheduled to begin May 24.

The trials for both cases were initially postponed in September after attorneys told presiding 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Gray Silver III that evidence had not been made available for defense experts to review.

Wagner asked for records of the individuals who drew blood from Woodling after the accident, the medical professionals' qualifications and a host of other records related to the DUI allegations, according to court records.

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, who has been incarcerated since September after violating terms of a bail agreement, was treated for minor injuries, police have said.

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