Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

May 31, 2014

Rebecca Hatcher pleads guilty to conspiracy

WELCH — Rebecca Lynn “Becky” Hatcher pleaded guilty Friday to a lesser charge of an attempt to commit a felony conspiracy in connection with the death of her father-in-law and long-time War Mayor Dr. Thomas Hatcher.

Rebecca Hatcher, who was scheduled to stand trial next week on a conspiracy charge, was found not guilty last year by a McDowell County jury on a charge of first-degree murder. However, the jurors were unable to reach a verdict on the conspiracy charge resulting in a subsequent mistrial.

Hatcher entered a guilty plea to the lesser charge of attempt to commit a felony conspiracy Friday afternoon before Circuit Court Judge Rudolph J. “Rick” Murensky.

Murensky set a sentencing date for Aug. 22, according to McDowell County Prosecuting Attorney Ed Kornish. She remains free on bond pending her sentencing.

Had the case gone to trial next week, jurors would have heard evidence that was not allowed in her first trial — including her videotaped interview with Detective Ron Blevins and Deputy Mark Shelton of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Department at 11:10 p.m. on July 19, 2012 — just two days after Thomas Clark Hatcher was found dead at his home. In the videotaped interview, Hatcher told the deputies that her brother, Earl Click, had called her at 1 a.m. on July 17, 2012 — the day of her father-in-law’s death — and asked her if Mayor Hatcher kept money on him. She testified on the tape that when she picked up her brother on July 17, 2012 — who needed a ride — he had “all kinds of money on him.”

She later stated on tape that she asked Earl Click what he did for the money. “He said: ‘I solved your problems for you,’” Rebecca Hatcher said in the videotaped interview.

“I had no idea what he was going to do,” she added in the videotape that was played to the court on Feb. 25 of this year. “When I heard about Tom, I knew what he meant.”

 Earl Click, 27, was convicted on Feb. 5 of first-degree murder and conspiracy in connection with the death of Tom Hatcher. The jury only deliberated 88 minutes before returning the guilty verdict against Click. The jury in Rebecca Hatcher’s trial deliberated for nine hours over two days before returning a not guilty verdict on the murder charge and reporting to the court that they could not decide on the conspiracy charge. Murensky subsequently declared a mistrial and set a new trial for Rebecca Hatcher on the conspiracy charge.

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. He was still serving as mayor at the time of his death.

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