Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

July 20, 2012

PRESS CONFERENCE UPDATE: Two charged with murder in death of McDowell County mayor

WAR — Robbery may have been the motive behind the death of Mayor Tom Hatcher of War, police said today.

Chief Deputy Mark Shelton with the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office, said today during a press conference that $1,100 may have been taken from Hatcher’s home in order to purchase drugs.

Hatcher’s daughter-in-law, Rebecca Lynn Hatcher, 31, of War, and her brother, Earl Click, 26, of Grundy, Va., have both been charged with first-degree murder.

Shelton declined to release a cause of death. The State Medical Examiner may have a report by Monday, he said. 

According to Deputy Ron Blevins of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Department, deputies with the McDowell County Sheriff’s Department working in conjunction with agents with the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations unit located and arrested Rebecca Hatcher and Earl Click late Thursday night. Rebecca Hatcher was arrested in War and Click was taken into custody in Grundy, Va.

Rebecca Hatcher was arraigned Friday morning before McDowell County Magistate Richard VandDkye. She is being held without bond pending a hearing before a circuit court judge. Blevins said McDowell County authorities are working to extradite Click back to West Virginia.

According to a copy of the criminal complaint filed against Rebecca Hatcher, police allege the two stole $1,100 in U.S. currency after killing Hatcher.

Hatcher was found dead shortly before noon on Tuesday. Blevins said authorities expected foul play from the beginning.

Blevins said additional charges are pending in the case, which will be presented to the next session of the McDowell County grand jury.

Blevins said he couldn’t comment on a motive for the crime, or the mayor’s exact cause of death.

Police initially reported that they didn’t suspect foul play in Hatcher’s death. Blevins said the sheriff’s department reluctantly released incorrect information to the media as part of the ongoing investigation.

“We have been actively investigating it (Hatcher’s death) since the day we went on scene,” Blevins said. “We hated to give the false information, but we were kind of hoping that by releasing that information to the press sometimes it gives people a little more incentive. Sometimes they will come forward quicker with more information.”

Blevins, and McDowell County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Mark Shelton, have been investigating Hatcher’s death since Monday.

“Actually Chief Field Deputy (Mark) Shelton and I are working on this together,” Blevins said. “He received some information in and around the War area that led us to a couple of different subjects that gave us information. That gave us enough information where we contacted the prosecuting attorney and he advised us we had enough to make the arrest.”

Blevins said Click will be extradited from Virginia to McDowell County. He is currently being held in the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail system.

“We are just waiting on the extradition on the Click fellow in Grundy, Va.,” Blevins said. “They have already transported him to the regional jail.”

Hatcher was 72 at the time of his death. He had served as mayor of War since 1997.

Hatcher worked in the field of education for 48 years before returning home. He taught in the public schools in Morgantown from 1960 to 1965  then worked as an education and language arts professor at West Virginia University. He also worked as a public school administrator from 1991 to 1999.

Hatcher was active in the War Kiwanis Club and the Christ is the King Catholic Church in War. He was a past president of the Clinch Mountain Militia, Sons of the American Revolution and was also a past president of the Tazewell County Historical Society.

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