Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

January 18, 2013

Atwell considering plea agreement

PRINCETON — A Mercer County man facing charges including murder, kidnapping, robbery and other charges in connection with the death of his wife and the abduction of his daughter in April 2012 is now considering a plea agreement.

Tracey Lee Atwell, 38, of Spanishburg allegedly murdered his wife, 33-year-old Christine Marie Atwell and abducted his 8-year-old daughter Porsche in April 2012.

The child was found safe after an extensive search conducted by the West Virginia State Police, the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department, and other law enforcement agencies. A state police helicopter also joined in the search. Atwell was arrested April 14, 2012 while traveling along W.Va. Route 5 near the intersection of Nubbins Ridge Road and Egeria Road along the Mercer and Raleigh county line.

Atwell appeared Thursday in Mercer County Circuit Court for a pretrial hearing before Judge Derek Swope. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Janet Williamson said after the hearing that Atwell was considering a plea agreement. She declined to say what a possible agreement would include. Atwell’s attorneys also declined to comment.

To give Atwell time to consider his options, defense attorneys Derrick Lefler and Paul Cassell asked Swope for a new trial date. After asking Atwell if he understood that he had the right to a speedy trial, Swope changed the trial date for March 5. Atwell is being held at the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver.

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