Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

May 28, 2014

2 arraigned in beating case

BLUEFIELD — Two Bluefield men were arraigned Tuesday on charges stemming from the alleged beating and robbery of a city resident.

Jimmy Cook, 21, of Bluefield, was charged with conspiracy and William Wetzel, 21, of Bluefield, was charged with conspiracy, first-degree robbery and assault during commission of felony, according to Detective K.L. Adams of the Bluefield Police Department.

“We are still actively searching for the female suspect also invovled in the beating and robbery,” Adams said.

Adams said the charges are a result of a beating and robbery that left Daniel Baker, 54, of Bluefield, unconscious and severely injured. Baker was beaten and robbed on Jefferson Street around 2:50 a.m. on the morning of May 22.

Baker is still unconscious and is being treated at Roanoke Memorial Hospital, according to Adams.

Cook was an involved witness, and has been charged with conspiracy since he did not turn himself in, Adams said.

“He has admitted everything that happened and told us what he saw,” Adams said. “He was not involved in the beating.”

Prior to his arraignment Tuesday, Cook told the Daily Telegraph that he was sorry for what he did.

“I was messed up drunk and I was scared to come forward,” Cook said.

Cook also told the Telegraph that his friend William Wetzel did not know Daniel Baker.

“I am pretty sure he just did it out of cruelty,” Cook said.

Adams said that Cook’s testimony matched up perfectly with the surveillance video obtained of the incident.

According to the criminal complaint filed by Adams, “Wetzel and a female subject entered Baker’s yard and Wetzel began beating Baker by violently stomping him with his shoes. The female then robbed Baker by stealing the items in his pockets. No wallet or ID cards were found with Baker’s information on him or inside the home.”

Adams said Baker was found by his friends the next day after laying injured inside his home for more than 24 hours. Adams said it appeared that Baker had been assaulted outside of his residence and had made it inside after the assault.

Both men were arraigned Tuesday before Mercer County Magistrate Susan Honaker.

Honaker set Wetzel’s bond at a $250,000 cash bond. He is being held at Southern Regional Jail. Cook was released on a $5,000 PR bond.

Adams said the alleged beating and robbery of Baker occurred on Jefferson Street around 2:50 a.m. on the morning of May 22.

“Baker is in critical condition with multiple brain bleeds and his face is fractured in multiple places,” Adams said.

— Contact Anne Elgin at aelgin@bdtonline.com

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