Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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May 30, 2014

Hatcher pleads guilty to lesser offense in connection with War mayor’s death

WELCH — Rebecca Lynn “Becky” Hatcher pleaded guilty Friday to a lesser charge of an attempt to commit a felony conspiracy in connection with the death of her father-in-law and long-time War Mayor Dr. Thomas Hatcher.

Rebecca Hatcher, who was scheduled to stand trial next week on a conspiracy charge, was found not guilty last year by a McDowell County jury on a charge of first-degree murder. However, the jurors were unable to reach a verdict on the conspiracy charge resulting in a subsequent mistrial.

Hatcher entered a guilty plea to the lesser charge of attempt to commit a felony conspiracy Friday afternoon before Circuit Court Judge Rudolph J. “Rick” Murensky.

Murensky set a sentencing date for Aug. 22, according to McDowell County Prosecuting Attorney Ed Kornish. She remains free on bond pending her sentencing. Earl Click, 27, was convicted on Feb. 5 of first-degree murder and conspiracy in connection with the death of Tom Hatcher. The jury only deliberated 88 minutes before returning the guilty verdict against Click.

The jury in Rebecca Hatcher’s trial deliberated for nine hours over two days before returning a not guilty verdict on the murder charge and reporting to the court that they could not decide on the conspiracy charge. Murensky subsequently declared a mistrial and set a new trial for Rebecca Hatcher on the conspiracy charge.

Tom Hatcher was found dead shortly before noon on July 17, 2012 by city of War employees who went to check on him when he didn’t appear for work. He was still serving as mayor at the time of his death.

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