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W.Va. murder trial set to begin June 28

June 12, 2011
  • Maria Decicio-Smith
Maria Decicio-Smith

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The trial of a woman accused of fatally shooting her estranged husband in September 2007 remains on track to begin June 28, Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely said Friday after a pretrial hearing.

Charged with first-degree murder, Maria Decicio-Smith has been offered the opportunity to enter a guilty plea to voluntary manslaughter, but Games-Neely said she is preparing for a trial because the defendant has not accepted the plea agreement.

Police allege Decicio-Smith, 38, shot Richard E. Amundson five times, according to court records. He was found facedown in the basement of Decicio-Smith’s home at 210 Gussie Ave., with a rotisserie fork near his left hand, police have said.

Smith’s trial has been delayed multiple times since she was indicted in 2008, in part because of competency issues.

Since the homicide, the defendant has been treated at Williarm R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital in Weston, W.Va., on at least two occasions and at City Hospital on another.

She has told police that she was sexually assaulted by her estranged husband and another man for several days before killing Amundson, according to court records.

Defense attorney B. Craig Manford, who is representing Decicio-Smtih, has said the defendant obtained two restraining orders against Amundson in Wyoming.

Games-Neely said 50 prospective jurors would be summoned to appear for the trial, over which 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Christopher C. Wilkes will preside.

Decicio-Smith remains incarcerated at Eastern Regional Jail.

— Matthew Umstead

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