By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
A special prosecutor was appointed Tuesday to represent the state during a murder case in which the victim, a Mercer County man, had relatives working in the county court system.
Gerald Little, 60, of Princeton, appeared for a status and motions hearing in Mercer County Circuit Court before Judge John S. Hrko, the senior status judge assigned to the case. Little was arrested in March 2012 after the murder of Jerry Buckner, 57, of Princeton, who was found stabbed to death at his home on Honaker Avenue. Little is facing charges of first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and burglary.
Buckner was the brother of former magistrate and sheriff Harold Buckner, and he also had relatives in the prosecuting attorney’s office and the Mercer County Circuit Clerk’s Office.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Ed Bibb, who serves at the Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, was assigned to the case, according to information at the Mercer County Circuit Clerk’s Office.
A motion for a change of venue was not addressed Tuesday. A hearing about that motion was scheduled for Feb. 28. Little waived his right to a trial during the current term of the Mercer County Circuit Court, according to the circuit clerk’s office. The new term begins in late February. Little is currently at the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver.
Hrko said in December 2012 when the issue of a change of venue and a special prosecutor came up that he did not question of the integrity of Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ash or the people working in the Mercer County court system, but there was the possibility of an “appearance of impropriety” that could be considered by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals if a conviction was appealed.�