Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

June 27, 2013

2 indicted in mayor murder

WELCH — Earl J. Click, who along with his sister, Rebecca Lynn (Click) Hatcher were indicted by a McDowell County grand jury of murdering her father-in-law, the late Dr. Thomas Hatcher last July, and will stand trial on Aug. 13, in McDowell County Circuit Court.

Click, 27, was living in Grundy, Va., when Hatcher, then War mayor, was found dead in his apartment in War on July 17, 2012. Click appeared at a scheduling hearing Wednesday morning before McDowell County Circuit Court Judge Booker T. Stephens who set Click’s trial to start at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 13.

After setting the trial date, Stephens asked Click’s court-appointed counsel, Ronald D. Hassan if he would like to have his client brought to Welch a few days prior to the trial so he could go over final trial preparations with Click. Hassan said he would appreciate the time, and Stephens ordered Click to be brought to the holding cell in Welch on Aug. 9.

Following the hearing, McDowell County Prosecuting Attorney Edward Kornish said that the trials for both Click and his sister are scheduled to start on Aug. 13.

“They will not be tried together,” Kornish said. “The state has elected to try Rebecca Hatcher first. That trial will be held in Judge (Rudolph J. “Rick”) Murensky (II’s) court. For now, Mr. Click’s trial is scheduled to start in Judge Stephens’ court on the same day.” Kornish said that both trials set to start in different courts on the same date with Hatcher’s trial going first at this point.

A McDowell County grand jury indicted both Click and Hatcher, 32, on one count each of first degree murder and one count each of conspiracy. At the time of their arrests, investigating deputies with the McDowell County Sheriff’s Department alleged that Click and Hatcher entered Mayor Hatcher’s room to rob him of money to illegally buy prescription medications. Investigators said that the two allegedly took $1,100 from Mayor Hatcher’s apartment after (allegedly) murdering him.

Mayor Hatcher was born at Iaeger, grew up in War and was a son of the late Bea Carter Hatcher and West Virginia State Senator Glenn D. Hatcher, who represented the state in both the house of delegates and the state senate. Mayor Hatcher earned his undergraduate degree and master’s degree at West Virginia University, and earned his Ph.D., from the Ohio State University.

After a successful career in the field of education, Hatcher, who was 72 when he died, returned to War in 1991 to make a difference in southern West Virginia and Southwestern Virginia. Mayor Hatcher was an outspoken opponent of prescription drug abuse, and was quoted in a national publication as saying that prescription drug abuse has “overwhelmed” the region, just months before his death.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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