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Court: Man convicted in fatal stabbing is same person previously convicted of two other felonies

James G. Cross Jr. now faces a life sentence in prison as a result of his role in death of Hedgesville man

October 23, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com
  • James G. Cross and Thomas A. Grantham
File photos

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A jury in Berkeley County Circuit Court deliberated for more than 2 1/2 hours Tuesday before finding that one of two men convicted in the 2011 stabbing death of a man and wounding of another in June is the same person who was convicted of two prior felony charges.

James G. Cross Jr., 34, now faces a life sentence in prison as a result of his June 2012 conviction in the slaying of Andre Jackson, 21, of Hedgesville, W.Va., and the wounding of Jacques Taylor of Kearneysville, W.Va., according to Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely.

Cross, who is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 3, also could be ordered to serve three to 15 years in prison for his attempted murder conviction in the homicide case and between 10 and 40 years for his second-degree murder conviction, according to Games-Neely.

Cross also was convicted of malicious assault in June, but a two- to 10-year prison term for that conviction was replaced with the life sentence Games-Neely sought by filing a recidivist information in circuit court because of the defendant’s repeated brushes with the law.

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Cross could be eligible for parole after serving 15 years of the life sentence, according to Games-Neely, who said after Tuesday’s trial that she would ask 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Christopher C. Wilkes to order the defendant to serve the three prison sentences consecutively.

The jury of six women and six women appeared to deliberate longer than it took Games-Neely to present the state’s evidence of Cross’ felony convictions Tuesday.

Defense attorney Christopher Prezioso did not present any witnesses. Cross elected not to testify in his own defense.

On the witness stand Tuesday, each of the investigating officers involved in Cross’ felony convictions in 1997 and 2001 and in June identified the defendant as the same man linked to all three.

A West Virginia State Police expert also testified that the fingerprint cards for the felony cases filed against Cross all were made by the same individual, which was determined to be the defendant.

In federal district court, Cross was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2001, according to court documents. In the Jefferson County case, Cross was ordered to serve from six months to two years at the

Anthony Correctional Center as a youthful offender in the 1997 case.

In the 2011 homicide case, co-defendant Thomas A. Grantham, 36, was ordered by Wilkes in August to serve 40 years in prison for his second-degree murder conviction, in addition to sentences of one to three years and two to 10 years for attempted murder and malicious assault convictions. Grantham is to serve each sentence consecutively.

The attack occurred on Rock Cliff Drive in the early hours of April 23, 2011, after they met each other earlier that night at the Brickhouse Bar and Grill at 214 Mid Atlantic Parkway, according to trial testimony.

Witnesses testified at Cross’ and Grantham’s trial that Cross stabbed Jackson to death while Jackson sat in the passenger seat and Grantham wounded Taylor, who was in the driver’s seat of a vehicle on Rock Cliff Drive near Polo Green Drive.

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