Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

January 29, 2014

Prosecutors allege suspect in slaying of War mayor burned evidence

WELCH — Prosecutors argued Wednesday that a Buchanan County, Va., man who is charged with first-degree murder in the July 17, 2012 death of War Mayor Dr. Thomas Hatcher, destroyed evidence associated with the crime.

 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.

Defense attorney Ron Hassan is reprenting Click. McDowell County Prosecuting Attorney Ed Kornish is representing the state.

Kornish said in his opening statement that the state will present evidence that Click burned the clothes and boots that he wore on July 17, 2012. He asked the jury to “listen to all of the evidence,” and return a guilty verdict.

Hassan, in his opening statement, said, “There’s a difference between not-guilty and innocent. Earl Click is an innocent man.”

The state called Roy Darnell Harding as its first witness, and trial will resume tomorrow.

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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