Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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February 5, 2014

Jury finds Click guilty of first-degree murder in slaying of War mayor.

WELCH — A jury has found a Grundy, Va., man guilty of first-degree murder with a recommendation of mercy in the July 17, 2012, slaying of War Mayor Tom Hatcher.

The jury also found Earl Click, 27 of Grundy, guilty of conspiracy.

The jurors began deliberating at 3:25 p.m. They came back with the guilty verdicts just after 5 p.m.

Click was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of War Mayor Thomas C. Hatcher, who was found dead in his home on July 17, 2012.

McDowell County prosecuting attorney Ed Kornish said in his closing argument that Click’s motive in the murder was to protect his sister Becky(Click) Hatcher from going to jail for stealing money from Hatcher’s bank account and to protect his  mother as well.

Defense counsel Ronald Hassan said in his closing agrument that Mayor Hatcher died of natural causes and said there was no evidence to put Earl Click in Hatcher’s home.

Earlier in the day, Doctor William Manion, a practicing pathologist who served as an expert witness for the defense, testified that in his opinion War Mayor Dr. Thomas C. Hatcher died as a result of natural causes.

“I couldn’t call this a homicide,” Manion testified.

During the state’s rebuttal, Misty Laws, the woman who Earl Click said he made a sex tape with at the time of Mayor Tom Hatcher’s death, denied making any tape with him. She also denied smashing the tape in front of Click’s mother, Tammy Shortridge.

“The first day she said she was going to whoop my (butt). And ask her why a married woman was leading her son on,” Laws testified. “She never said anything about a tape.”

Circuit Court Judge Booker T. Stephens will read the jury its charge at 1:15 p.m. before closing arguments.

Click  is charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy in the 2012 death of long-time War Mayor Thomas Clark Hatcher.


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