Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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February 25, 2014

New trial date set for Hatcher on conspiracy charge

WELCH — The court set a new trial date for Rebecca Lynn (Click) Hatcher Monday morning and this time, the jury will get the chance to see a key piece of evidence that was not heard in her first trial — her videotaped interview with Detective Ron Blevins and Deputy Mark Shelton of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office at 11:10 p.m. on July 19, 2012 — just two days after War Mayor Thomas Clark Hatcher was found dead at his home.

Hatcher, 32, appeared in court looking like life outside of prison walls for the past four months has agreed with her. In the 2012 videotaped interview, Hatcher looked disheveled and gaunt. During her trial on first-degree murder and conspiracy charges from Oct. 30-Nov. 7, 2013, she had gained 48 pounds, according to a question defense counsel Keith Flinchum asked Russell White during rebuttal witness cross examination.

Hatcher was sporting a new hair do and a stylish houndstooth dress on Monday as she and her defense counselors, Flinchum and Thomas Evans, entered Judge Rudolph J. “Rick” Murensky II’s courtroom. All three turned from the defense table to watch the 16-minute videotape played on the wall screen in Murensky’s court.

After Blevins read Hatcher her rights and got her to initial each point, Hatcher told the deputies that her brother, Earl Click, had called her at 1 a.m., on July 17, 2012 — the day of her father-in-law’s death — and asked her if Mayor Hatcher kept money on him.

“He was on a binge,” Hatcher said of her brother. Earl Click, 27, was convicted on Feb. 5, of murder in the first degree and conspiracy. 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 declared a mistrial as to the conspiracy count, setting up Monday’s scheduling and suppression  hearing.

Rebecca Hatcher claimed in the videotape that Earl Click called her back at 4:15 a.m., also on July 17, 2012, needing a ride. “When I picked him up, he had all kinds of money on him,” according to her statement on the videotape. She stated on tape that she asked Earl what he did for the money. “He said: ‘I solved your problems for you.’” She said that her brother knew she and Mayor Hatcher had an argument.

“I had no idea what he was going to do,” she stated on the tape. “When I heard about Tom, I knew what he meant.” She became distraught on the tape when she spoke of her father-in-law’s death.

Rebecca Hatcher appeared to answer truthfully to questions by Blevins and Shelton concerning the money she had taken from his bank account. She also stated on the tape that, after the argument, she had given Mayor Hatcher $700 out of the $900 she had won at Momma Lisa’s video gambling establishment in War. “We worked it out,” she said of her problems with her father-in-law.

For her brother, however, she had a different message. “If I could get my hands on him, I’d kill him,” she stated.

McDowell County Prosecuting Attorney Edward Kornish asked the court to admit the videotape as evidence in Rebecca Hatcher’s new trial on the conspiracy charge. Flinchum, Hatcher’s lead defense counsel, objected to the admission of the videotape, claiming that it was “not the best evidence.” When Murensky asked what the best evidence would be, Flinchum said the defendant’s own testimony.

“I’m going to allow the statement in,” Murensky ruled. He said that he does have some concerns, and told the defense and prosecution that he would review the video to determine what “special cautions,” he would need to tell the jury. “It looked like a free and voluntary statement to me.”

After scheduling the trial for June 2, Murensky set a mid-April deadline to contact him if there were any other matters that the court needed to decide on before the start of the trial.

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