Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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June 15, 2013

Magistrate finds probable cause in shooting

BLUEFIELD — A Mercer County magistrate ruled Friday there is probable cause in the case of a Bluefield man facing multiple charges including attempted murder.

Richard Jamahl Saunders, 22, was transported to the Mercer County Magistrate offices in Bluefield for a preliminary hearing before Magistrate Susan Honaker. Saunders was arrested on June 4 and charged with two counts of attempted murder, eight counts of wanton endangerment, and one count of malicious assault.

The charges were the result of an alleged incident that occurred the morning of June 4 at a Bluefield area strip club. Saunders allegedly fired several gunshots during an altercation in the club’s parking lot.

One person, a woman, was shot once in the shoulder, Detective Cpl. L.B. Murphy said during his testimony. He had not seen her medical report and did not know additional details about her injuries. After the hearing, Murphy said she was hospitalized, had surgery and was later released.

The woman was in a car leaving the parking lot when the shots were fired, Murphy testified. When asked by attorney David White if anybody had been hit by the vehicle, Murphy replied that a person standing behind it was actually directing its driver so he could back out into traffic. When the car was hit by a beer bottle thrown by another female subject, it moved and “caught the hip” of one bystander, he said.

Murphy said at the time of the arrest that the incident started inside the club with a physical altercation between Saunders and a male victim. Saunders allegedly opened fire on the vehicle as it was leaving. Four shell casings were found at the scene.

When Honaker ruled there was probable cause, White asked if the court would consider reducing his client’s bond. Saunders has been jailed since his arrest in lieu of a $100,000 cash-only bond.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney John McGinnis objected. Honaker ruled that bond reduction could be considered, but the matter would require a separate hearing. The bond’s amount could not be addressed immediately after probable cause was found.

Saunders was remanded back to Southern Regional Jail. The case will be forwarded to the Mercer County Grand Jury.�

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