Man charged in 2008 Martinsburg shooting pleads not guilty to murder, robbery charges

Trial of Dale E. Knight rescheduled for March 19

August 20, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — One of three men charged in the 2008 shooting death of Kenneth E. Waybright pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of felony murder, first-degree robbery and conspiracy in Berkeley County Circuit Court.

The trial for Dale E. Knight, 26, was set for March 19 by 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Gray Silver III during an arraignment hearing.

Waybright, 37, of Stephens City, Va., was determined by police to be an innocent bystander in the July 20 shooting at the former Orioles Club at 214 Mid Atlantic Parkway. Waybright was fatally wounded by a bullet that ricocheted and struck him in the head, according to police.

Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely said the prosecution has statements that allege Knight and co-defendant Donzell W. White, 27, were robbing Elan Bell-Veney, the third man charged in Waybright’s death, when the fatal shooting occurred.

Bell-Veney, who was said to be acting in self-defense, was sentenced to six years in prison in May 2011 for his role in the shooting. Bell-Veney pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and wanton endangerment charges.

While Knight was indicted on the same charges as White in May 2011, Knight’s prosecution was delayed because he had been serving a federal prison sentence, according to court documents.

White’s trial, meanwhile, was set to begin Sept. 25, but was rescheduled for March 19 because Games-Neely told Silver that it was always the state’s intention to try the cases against Knight and White together. 

Knight’s attorney told Silver that he might file a motion to sever the cases. And given that Knight was just arraigned Monday, his defense attorney told Silver that he wouldn’t be ready to go to trial by September to coincide with White’s case.

White’s attorney also told the court that a key defense witness is in federal custody awaiting sentencing and would not have been available for the September trial date.

Aside from setting trial dates, Silver deferred setting bond for Knight because Games-Neely said it wasn’t clear whether he would be remanded to federal custody.

Since being released from federal prison, Knight has been staying at a halfway house in Clarksburg, W.Va., at the direction of federal authorities, attorneys said. His attorney indicated Knight is expected to be placed on supervised release in two months.

Games-Neely said Knight, who was being held in Eastern Regional Jail, was technically in state custody Monday.

White was placed on home confinement and GPS monitoring in June 2011, and Games-Neely said in court she was agreeable to allowing for similar bond conditions for Knight, if it is possible.

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