Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

August 28, 2013

Murder trial begins

Mercer man charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy

PRINCETON — A trial started Tuesday for a Mercer County man facing charges for his alleged role in the August 2012 shooting death of a Montcalm resident.

David Reasby, 35, of Bluefield is facing charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy in the death of 23-year-old Derek Tabor of Montcalm. Tabor was shot Aug. 20, 2012 outside of a Fourth Street home in Bluefield. Reasby is being tried in Mercer County Circuit Court before Judge William Sadler.

Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ash told jurors in his opening statement that Reasby did not fire the shot that killed Tabor. The shooting did occur because Reasby believed Tabor had spoken to the police about him.

“It is a saying of some elements of our society that ‘snitches lie in ditches,’” Ash said. “David Reasby, who also goes by the name Dirt Bike, believed Derek Tabor was a snitch who deserved to lie in a ditch.”

The shooting occurred when Derek Tabor, who was an addict, went to Fourth Street to buy drugs, Ash said. While he was there, a gold Tahoe with “huge chrome wheels” arrived, and David Reasby was one of the people who emerged from it. Tabor was confronted and tried to flee on foot, but was then shot once.

While Reasby was not the shooter, being a participant in the crime leading to Tabor’s death made him equally responsible by law, Ash said. For this reason, Reasby was charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy.

Ash and Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler introduced recordings of phone calls Reasby allegedly made Aug. 24 from the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver. Both calls were played for the jury, and in both, Reasby tried to persuade two witnesses to change their testimony or plead the Fifth Amendment.

A corrections officer, Lt. Larry Warden, who serves at Southern Regional testified that inmates are assigned an identification number to be used when making calls. They are warned both by signs and by a recording that their conversations could be recorded. Conversations between inmates and their attorneys are not recorded, Warden said.

In his opening statement, attorney David White, who is representing Reasby, said his client did not participate in Tabor’s murder.

“David Reasby is an innocent man,” White told the jurors, adding that he was confident they would find him innocent.

White said three people were at the scene of Tabor’s murder, and that investigators had not named the shooter.

In later testimony, Lt. C.S. Myers of the Bluefield Police Department said another person at the scene, Deantrae Scaife, no age available, is currently in a Lexington, Ky., jail on federal drug charges, was a suspect in Tabor’s shooting.

Witnesses to the shooting have changed their testimony several times, White said

“He (Reasby) wasn’t even there when Derek Tabor was killed. The state can’t prove he was even there, let alone did anything that constituted a crime.”

“At the end of the day, I know you will pay attention and look at evidence, and will find him not guilty on both counts,” White concluded.

Pads and pens were given to each juror after one juror asked permission to take notes. Judge Sadler said the jurors could decide for themselves whether to take notes, but if they did, to do so only during testimony. They were not to record their personal observations or feelings. Jurors were not to share notes, and they were not to allow note taking to distract them from the testimony.

 If their memories conflicted with their notes, they were to rely on their memories, Sadler stated. Nobody other than each juror would read his or her notes, and any notes would be shredded after the trial. One juror could be seen taking a note afterwards.

The trial continues today at the Mercer County Courthouse.

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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