Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

January 30, 2014

State witness in Click murder trial claims to receive death threats

WELCH — Day two of the Earl Click trial for the murder of War Mayor Tom Hatcher got underway Thursday with a surprise.

McDowell County Prosecuting Attorney Ed Kornish announced that one of his witnesses called him to say she couldn’t testify in the trial because she had received two death threats by telephone.

Ronald Hassan, Click’s defense attorney, pointed out to the court that the witness in question is wanted by Buchanan County, Va., authorities on 21 separate counts, and added if the prosecutor was able to subpoena her, he ought to share her address with Buchanan County authorities.

“My client was in jail — so he didn’t call her,” Hassan said.

Most of the testimony on Thursday morning dealt with the forensic evidence in the case, none of which appears to link Click to the crime scene.

 Earl Click, 28, was a War native who was living in Grundy, Va., when War Mayor Hatcher was killed. 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.

Rebecca Hatcher, 32, and her brother, Earl Click, were both originally charged with conspiracy to murder Mayor Hatcher — Rebecca Hatcher’s father-in-law. However, a jury found Rebecca Hatcher not guilty of first-degree murder last year. They were unable to reach a verdict on a second charge of conspiracy forcing Circuit Court Judge Rudolph J. Murensky II to declare a mistrial on the conspiracy indictment count. She is set to be retried on the conspiracy charge next month.

Law enforcement officers who investigated the case alleged that robbery to get money to purchase illegal prescription drugs was the motive in the crime.

Mayor Hatcher, 72, a native of Iaeger who grew up in War, was a tireless advocate for War, McDowell County and the southern West Virginia/southwestern Virginia region.


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