Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

October 19, 2013

Suspect in parents’ slaying waives hearing

BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

TAZEWELL, Va. — Christopher Dean Looney, the son of the two victims in the  double homicide at the Pizza Plus Restaurant at Claypool Hill, Va., waived his right to a preliminary hearing in Tazewell County Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court Friday morning.

Looney, 32, of Belfast, Va., was arrested Feb. 14, on two counts of capital murder related to the deaths of his parents, Valery and Harvey Looney, 48, and 52 respectively, who were found by an employee who was coming to work at the restaurant on the morning of March 30, 2009. Tazewell County sheriff’s deputies continued their investigation for nearly four years prior to making the arrest.

Looney appeared before Judge Michael J. Bush, chief judge of the Tazewell Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court. Three of Looney’s six-member defense team, including William H. “Will” Lindsey, of Roanoke, Va., Gregory M. “Greg” Kallen of Big Stone Gap, Va., and Jay H. Steele of Lebanon, Va., appeared in court for the defense while Tazewell County Commonwealth’s Attorney Dennis Lee appeared on behalf of the state.

“The case will now be bound over to the November session of the Tazewell County grand jury,” Lee said. “We will be seeking an indictment on two counts of capital murder.”

Following the hearing, Bush ordered Looney remanded back to the custody of the Southwest Regional Jail in Tazewell where he has been lodged since his arrest.

At the time of Looney’s arrest, Tazewell County Sheriff Brian Hieatt expressed his thanks to all the agencies that assisted with the investigation. Chief Tazewell County Sheriff’s Deputy Major Harold Heatley said that Tazewell County Captain of Detectives Neil Turley, Tazewell County Investigator Mike Hall and Virginia State Police Special Agent John Santola were all instrumental in the investigation.

Looney’s preliminary hearing was initially scheduled for March 21, but was continued until Friday.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com