Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

March 20, 2013

Testimony begins in McKinley murder trial

PRINCETON — Forensic analysts were among the witnesses Tuesday, in Mercer County Circuit Court, when the trial of a local man facing a charge of first-degree murder in the 2011 shooting of a Bluefield woman began.

Bluefield police sought and later arrested Marcus McKinley, 27, of Princeton, after the May 19, 2011 murder of Ayana Patton, 18, of Bluefield. Patton died as the result of a gunshot wound while at the Opera House Apartments in downtown Bluefield. McKinley left Mercer County and was later extradited from North Carolina.

McKinley is being tried before Judge Omar Aboulhosn. The trial is scheduled to continue today.

McKinley, who has been detained at the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver, since his arrest, listened as Prosecutor Edward Kornish of McDowell County, who was assigned to the case, and defense attorney Tom Czarnik, addressed the jury and questioned witnesses.

Jennifer Howard, a forensic analyst with the West Virginia State Police Crime Lab, testified that she examined the contents of a sex crime kit sent by investigators. She stated that no male DNA was found.

A tool mark and firearms analyst with the WVSP lab, Phillip Kent Cochran, said he received a .45 caliber Ruger P-90, two ammunition clips — one with two bullets, and one with seven bullets — and some fired bullets for examination. The jury was shown the semi-automatic pistol and bullets. Bullets fired from the gun at the laboratory matched fired bullets provided by investigators, he said.

Another state police analyst, Nicole MacEwan, examined a jacket McKinley alleged wore at the time of Patton’s death. She said tests showed it had traces of gunshot residue.

 When cross-examined by Czarnik, MacEwan said the residue could have come from firing a weapon, being in a room when a weapon was fired, or handling something with gunshot residue on it. The test did not show how many times a gun was fired or when it was fired, she added when questioned.

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