Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

October 23, 2012

Little pleads not guilty in Honaker Avenue murder

PRINCETON — One by one, the judge asked the defendant how he would plead to first-degree murder, burglary, first-degree robbery, and failure to register as a sex offender. The defendant had the same reply to each question — not guilty.

Gerald W. Little, 60, now incarcerated at the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver, appeared for an arraignment Monday in Mercer County Circuit Court before Judge John Hrko. The Mercer County Grand Jury indicted Little on first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and burglary in the case of Jerry Buckner, who was found stabbed to death on March 1 at his Honaker Avenue home in Princeton. Little pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

According to an autopsy report, Buckner died from multiple stab wounds to the neck and throat, Lt. J.W. Howell testified during the preliminary hearing. Howell said Buckner had been stabbed more than 30 times.

In a separate case, the grand jury indicted Little on a charge of failure to register as a sex offender. Little was convicted in July 24, 2007 in Raleigh County on a charge of sexual abuse, Hrko said. Little had failed to report that he had dropped out of a trucking school he was attending. He pleaded not guilty to this charge.

Investigators determined that Buckner had been stabbed to death. During Little’s preliminary hearing on March 26, investigators with the Princeton Police Department testified that they had learned how Little had argued with a girlfriend about money for several days, then told her that he would find some money. Detectives also testified that when they located Little in the Veterans Administration hospital in Beckley, he had scratches on his neck, eyelids, throat and behind his ears. Little also had several cuts and abrasions on his hands. Some DNA collected from Little and tested by the West Virginia State Police Crime Lab matched DNA taken from the crime scene, Howell said at the preliminary hearing.

During Monday’s arraignment, Hrko told Little that he faced the possibility of life in prison.

After some discussions with Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ash and defense attorney Derrick Lefler, Hrko set Little’s trial date for Jan. 22.

Jerry Buckner had many family members in the Mercer County Community including former Mercer County Sheriff Harold Buckner, who has also served as a county magistrate.

Judge Hrko was appointed by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals to hear the case.

Little was remanded back to the regional jail.

 

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