Trial for woman accused of shooting her ex-husband set to begin Tuesday in Martinsburg

July 08, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |
  • Flor Demaria Slone
Submitted Photo

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The trial for a woman accused of shooting her ex-husband in October 2009 after she reportedly learned he had removed her as a beneficiary on his insurance policy is set to begin Tuesday.

Flor Demaria Slone, 42, was indicted in May 2010 on felony counts of kidnapping, attempted first-degree murder, attempted malicious assault and malicious assault. She is accused of shooting Stephen K. Slone, her husband at the time, in the chest Oct. 21, 2009, at his home at 5409 Winchester Ave. in Inwood, W.Va.

Slone confirmed Friday during a pretrial hearing in Berkeley County Circuit Court that she was given the opportunity to enter guilty pleas to the malicious assault and attempted murder charges and declined the offer. The state would have dismissed the other two felony counts, and a two- to 10-year sentence and a three- to 15-year sentence for the convictions would have been served concurrently as part of the offer, attorneys told Circuit Judge Christopher C. Wilkes. Slone also would have been ordered to pay restitution.

Standing before Wilkes, Slone turned a thumb ring on one of her clasped hands as the judge advised of her right to testify in her own defense at trial. She appeared relaxed during Friday's hearing, which lasted more than two hours.

Much of the hearing focused on whether defense attorney Thomas Stanley could call prosecuting attorney Pamela Games-Neely, who is presenting the state's case, and assistant prosecuting attorney Greg Jones to the witness stand to testify as rebuttal witnesses. Stanley indicated there were concerns about conflicting statements the alleged victim supposedly gave to the state.

After more than 40 minutes of arguments in court and a closed-door meeting, Games-Neely and Stanley agreed with Wilkes' suggestion that a stipulation be read to the jury that didn't name them to avoid a potential mistrial if they were to testify. Wilkes noted that contradictory statements point to the truthfulness and credibility of a potential witness, and that the defense stood to benefit if there were any.

Wilkes also denied two motions filed by Games-Neely.

The prosecutor had asked the judge to exclude a letter that Stephen Slone wrote to the defendant from Eastern Regional Jail earlier this year after he robbed a bank in Inwood, W.Va. Slone, 47, last month pleaded guilty in federal district court in Martinsburg to one count of bank robbery of City National Bank on Jan. 28.

Police said they captured Slone within minutes after he robbed the bank in southern Berkeley County and attempted to kidnap the bank manager.

After being incarcerated, Slone jumped from the second floor of the jail, attorneys told Wilkes. In the letter to his ex-wife, Slone told her that he broke his neck, back, tailbone, a few ribs, left leg and heel, according to court documents.

Wilkes ruled that he wouldn't preclude the defense from introducing evidence that appears to show a pattern of self-injurious behavior by Stephen Slone. Games-Neely said she expects Stanley will try to argue that Slone shot himself or arranged for someone else to shoot him, and that the attorney will present evidence about Slone's apparent suicide attempt at the jail, that Slone also attempted to take his life in July 2010 and of his admission to Gateway Center at City Hospital in 2000 for an alleged reaction to a drug used to treat depression.

In her motion, Games-Neely argued that some of the incidents happened long after the alleged shooting and that there was equal argument that the injuries Stephen Slone incurred as a result of the shooting might have led to the "concurrent depressive or suicidal events."

Wilkes also ruled that the defense wasn't prohibited from presenting information regarding Stephen Slone's May 1998 conviction for giving false information to police.

During Friday's hearing, Games-Neely told Wilkes there would be "all kinds of bizarre things" coming into court with the trial.

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