Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

February 3, 2014

State rests in trial of man charged with murder of McDowell County mayor


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

WELCH — The state rested and the defense began presenting its case on Monday at the start of the fourth day in the trial of Earl Click on the charge of first-degree murder in connection with the 2012 death of War Mayor Tom Hatcher.

McDowell County Prosecuting Attorney Ed Kornish called Deputy Mark Shelton as the state’s final witness. Shelton testified that deputies searched Bradshaw Mountain for a bag containing a money clip owned by the mayor that the defendant allegedly tossed from a vehicle.

The defendant’s mother, Tammy Shortridge, under direct examination by defense counsel Ronald Hassan testified that her daughter, Rebecca Hatcher, never left her home in Buchanan County, Va., on the night and early morning hours of July 17, 2012, when Hatcher died.

“She couldn’t have taken my Trailblazer because the keys were in my purse, and the purse was in my bedroom with me,” she testified.

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.