DNA test results link defendant to May 2011 homicide

August 01, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |
  • Joshua L. Stitley and Roy L. Wisotzkey
File photos

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — DNA test results link Roy L. Wisotzkey to the May 2011 homicide of Vickie Clem, jurors were told Thursday at the Hagerstown man’s trial in Berkeley County Circuit Court.

Wisotzkey, 35, and Clem’s son, Joshua Stitley, 34, of Hancock were indicted in October 2011 on a host of charges in connection with Clem’s death, and the stabbing and beating of her husband, Jack Clem, at their home in the Potomac Heights subdivision of Falling Waters, W.Va.

The counts against the men include murder, felony murder, attempted murder, malicious assault, burglary, conspiracy, two counts of assault during the commission of a felony and two counts of first-degree robbery, according to the indictments.

Blood on an 11-inch, black-handled steak knife was found to be Clem’s, while Wisotzkey was determined to be the primary source of DNA in a mixture of blood that was recovered by swabbing the handle, according to testimony from state police forensic experts and investigators.

A wooden baseball bat found at the crime scene also had Clem’s blood on it, and Witsotzkey’s DNA could not be excluded from one of two areas on the bat that were swabbed for evidence, Brent Myers of the West Virginia State Police Forensic Laboratory testified.

Presentation of the prosecution’s evidence against Wisotzkey is expected to conclude today(Friday for web) after jurors hear testimony from four witnesses, including Clem’s husband and West Virginia State Police Cpl. J.M. Walker, the lead investigator in the case.

If convicted of the most serious charges, Wisotzkey faces life in prison.

Stitley’s trial is scheduled to be held in October.

Before Myers took the stand, retired state Deputy Medical Examiner Zia Sabet told the jury that the knife and baseball bat could very well have caused Clem’s lethal injuries.

Clem died from multiple blunt force and sharp force injuries, said Sabet, who ruled her death to be a homicide.

Based on the body’s condition, Sabet estimated that the time of Clem’s death could have been “late p.m., or early a.m.” of May 26 and May 27, 2011.

In her opening statement earlier this week, Games-Neely said that evidence would show that the two men intended to rob the Clems the night of May 26, but then stayed at the home for several hours after what turned into a deadly struggle.

Sabet said he found evidence that indicated Clem was struck nine times in the head and stabbed twice in the left side of her chest, along with multiple defensive wounds and bone fractures in her arms.

Aside from DNA evidence found on the bat and knife, testing of a piece of material from the black pants Wisotzkey was wearing when he was arrested by police also linked him to Vickie Clem, according to Myers.

DNA testing of cuttings taken from the camouflage pants and a T-shirt worn by Stitley linked him to Clem’s husband, Myers said.

“I’m 100 percent confident in the results I’ve spoken about today,” Myers concluded in direct examination by Games-Neely.

Myers said testing revealed that Jack Clem’s blood was found on the sword and folding knife, which were discovered in the top floor bathroom.

Clem’s husband had barricaded himself, while Wisotzkey and Stitley remained in the home for several hours after the incident, Games-Neely said in her opening statement on Wednesday. 

However, his wife was unable to escape from the master bedroom, which is where Trooper D.S. See testified she was found lying on her left side across the bed with her arms folded over her chest.

Knives found in van

Troopers testified Thursday that the black-handled knife and utility knife were found in the white van that Stitley and Wisotzkey were traveling in when police caught them on W.Va. 9 near Harlan Springs Road at 8:43 a.m. on May 27.

Less than 20 minutes earlier, police and EMS personnel were dispatched to Vinca Lane after Jack Clem fled naked from his home and approached his neighbor, Donald Eccard, for help.

While Clem was at his house, Eccard said he watched a white van leave the Clems’ split-level home.

Sgt. J.D. Burkhart testified Thursday that he spotted the van traveling south on Interstate 81 soon after an advisory was issued to be on the lookout for it.

Although traveling north near Exit 20 at the time, Burkhart said he was able to quickly catch up with the van due to little traffic.

Burkhart said the driver ignored his lights and sirens, and appeared to be drinking from a liquor bottle and smoking a cigarette while behind the wheel of the van, which he determined was registered to Vickie Clem.

After the van left the highway via Exit 16, Burkhart said a Berkeley County sheriff’s deputy helped stop the vehicle by getting in front of it and then slowing down. 

Walker testified the black-handled knife and utility knives were found on the center console to the right of Stitley, who was driving.

Multiple bottles of Vladimir vodka were found in the van, along a with a sheath for a sword or a large knife, a prescription bottle with Vickie Clem’s name on it and a bottle of Ibuprofen that actually contained muscle relaxants, said state police Cpl. Z.L. Nine, who processed the van for evidence in the investigation.

Stitley was found to have $475 in cash, credit cards with Vickie Clem’s name on them and an old coin, Nine testified. Rolls of nickels and a roll of quarters also were found in the vehicle, he said.

The trial is expected to continue into next week.

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