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Husband of victim testifies in W.Va. murder trial

August 02, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com
  • Joshua L. Stitley and Roy L. Wisotzkey
File photos

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The last time Jack Clem saw his wife alive, she was crawling into the master bedroom from the hallway of their Falling Waters, W.Va., home.

Vickie Clem had just been struck in the head with a baseball bat by a male intruder of their split foyer home at 81 Vinca Lane.

Having just been stabbed in the groin moments earlier by a second man, Clem couldn’t protect her from the lethal injuries to the head and chest that followed the night of May 26, 2011.

He had fallen into the bathroom from the hallway, but remembered hollering to his wife to lock the bedroom door.

It was too late. The next thing he heard was a repeated banging sound, presumably of his wife being struck with the bat — and her moaning.

“I knew they were killing her,” Clem testified Friday at the trial in Berkeley County Circuit Court for one of the two men charged in the deadly attack.

Clem, who held his hands to his face and struggled to keep from crying, was the last witness for the prosecution’s case against Roy L. Wisotzkey, 35, of Hagerstown.  

Wisotzkey is being tried on charges of first-degree murder, felony murder, first-degree robbery, conspiracy, burglary, attempted murder, malicious assault and assault during the commission of a felony, according to his indictment.

The trial for co-defendant Joshua Stitley, 34, of Hancock, who is Vickie Clem’s son, is scheduled to begin Oct. 22. He faces additional charges of fleeing while driving under the influence from a law-enforcement officer and fraudulent use of an access device.

A motion to acquit Wisotzkey of the charges by defense attorney Christopher Prezioso was denied by 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Christopher C. Wilkes after Berkeley County prosecutors rested their case Friday afternoon.

The trial is set to resume Tuesday, when Prezioso is expected to call at least one more witness to testify.

In addition to Clem’s testimony, jurors heard how a surveillance camera at a bank ATM at Grade Road and U.S. 11 captured Stitley withdrawing $300 in cash from Vickie Clem’s bank account less than eight hours after she was stabbed twice in the chest and beaten in the head multiple times.

Jurors also heard recordings of Wisotzkey’s statements to police, which revealed how he and Stitley planned to rob the Clems and use the baseball bat and a decorative sword to scare the couple.

Clem said he awoke about 11 p.m. after the couple’s two large dogs jumped up abruptly and left their bedroom.

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He followed the dogs out, only to see his stepson standing in his home holding the bat and a man he didn’t know holding the sword.

After being hit with the baseball bat and then stabbed in a struggle with his stepson, Clem said he fell into the bathroom and wedged himself across the floor to keep the men from opening the door.

Clem said he was able to get the sword out of Wisotzkey’s hands, and it ended up in the bathroom with him.

His wife, who was behind Wisotzkey, kept asking her son why he was attacking them.

In the struggle with his stepson, Clem testified that Stitley dropped the bat and then called out for help from Wisotzkey, who picked up the bat and struck Clem’s wife.

After begging them not to kill her from inside the bathroom, Clem said his stepson hollered, ‘You all killed me a long time ago.’”

Clem died from multiple blunt force and sharp force injuries to the head and chest after being struck at least nine times in the head and stabbed twice in the chest, according to a now former deputy state medical examiner’s findings.

The black-handled kitchen knife found to have Vickie Clem’s blood on the blade and Wisotzkey’s DNA on the handle was believed be the sharpest knife in the couple’s house, Clem testified Friday.

After the banging stopped, and his wife stopped moaning, Clem said he passed out in the bathroom. He said he didn’t immediately realize another knife that he had been stabbed with was still inside him.

And when he pulled it out of his groin, Clem said he began to bleed profusely.

He said he was scared he was going to bleed to death.

Clem said he never met Wisotzkey before that night and only heard Stitley call him Roy during the struggle.

Due to the lighting in the home at the time and the suddenness of the incident, Clem was unable to later identify Wisotzkey in an array of six photographs, West Virginia State Police Cpl. J.M. Walker testified Friday.

Clem said he awoke and looked out from the bathroom at one point and saw Wisotzkey coming up the hallway with the bat.

Later on, Clem said he saw the men sleeping in his living room and seized the opportunity to escape. Clem said he fled from the home and hobbled to a neighbor’s house to get help.

Clem was flown to a Virginia hospital for treatment, but said he was released several hours later after officials realized he didn’t have health insurance.

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