Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

February 28, 2013

Murder case venue changes

GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — A Mercer County man facing charges including murder will now see future court proceedings about his case conducted in another county’s circuit court system.

Gerald Little, 60, of Princeton was arrested in March 2012 after the murder of 57-year-old Jerry Buckner of Princeton, who was found stabbed to death in his Honaker Avenue home. Little was charged with first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and burglary. The case was transferred Wednesday to the Raleigh County Circuit Court.

Buckner was the brother of former sheriff and county magistrate Harold Buckner. Several of the victim’s relatives work in the Mercer County Prosecut-ing Attorney’s Office and the Circuit Clerk’s Office. Senior Status Judge John S. Hrko was assigned to determine whether Little’s trial could take place in Mercer County.

In late January, Hrko appointed Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Ed Bibb, who serves in the Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, to the case. On Wednesday, the Raleigh County Circuit Clerk’s Office received a court order transferring Little’s case to that county.

Hrko said in previous hearings about appointing a special prosecutor and changing the case’s venue that he did not question the integrity of Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ash or other people working in the Mercer County court system. However, there was a possibility for an “appearance of impropriety” that could be considered by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals if a conviction was appealed.

Little is currently at the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver.