Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

May 21, 2013

War man charged with murder

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BRADSHAW — A bond hearing was scheduled Monday in McDowell County Circuit Court for a War resident soon after he was charged with first-degree murder in the death of a local man.

Deputies with the McDowell County Sheriff’s Department were dispatched 9:20 p.m. Sunday to the scene of a murder reported in Beartown near Bradshaw. When the investigators arrived at the scene, they found Donald Lee Baker, 52, of Avondale dead in his Beartown home, according to Chief Deputy James Muncy.

Investigators believe Baker was shot once, Muncy said. A firearm was recovered, but Muncy declined to describe it.

Wesley Payne, 54, of War was later arrested and charged with first-degree murder. The murder occurred after a domestic-related argument, Muncy said. He declined to provide more details Monday about the motive behind the argument since the investigation was underway.

 Payne was arraigned Monday morning before Magistrate Steve Cox. He is being detained at the McDowell County Holding Unit until he can be brought before a circuit court judge for a bond hearing.

Under state law, bond for people facing felony charges such as first-degree murder must be set in a circuit court. A McDowell County circuit judge will determine Wednesday whether Payne will be eligible for release on bond.

Troopers with the West Virginia State Police detachment in Welch were also on the scene Sunday in Beartown.