— A McDowell County grand jury returned indictments naming 61 people for a variety of charges including first degree murder and felony conspiracy related to the July 17, 2012 homicide of War Mayor Dr. Thomas C. Hatcher.
McDowell County law enforcement officers allege that the two persons charged with the crime — Hatcher’s daughter-in-law, Rebecca Lynn Hatcher, 30, of War, and her brother, Earl J. Click, 26, of Big Rock, Va. — murdered Hatcher to steal approximately $1,100 in cash to purchase drugs, according to previous reports following the arrests of the two. Hatcher and Click are charged with one count each of first degree murder and felony conspiracy.
Hatcher, 72, was found at his residence by a city of War employee who went to check on him when he didn’t arrive in the mayor’s office on his typical schedule. Hatcher was a dedicated public servant, educator, historian and friend to many throughout the region.
The grand jury also returned two indictments naming Danny Ray Payne, 49, of Bradshaw and charging him with one count of attempted first degree murder as well as two counts of malicious wounding, two counts of brandishing a deadly weapon, along with one count each of robbery in the first degree, grand larceny and assault during the commission of a felony.
The indictments stem from an incident that occurred in Bartley late in the evening of April 23, 2008. State Police were dispatched to Bartley to investigate. Cpl. C.K. Morton spoke with a man who had been wounded, and his investigation ultimately led to Payne’s arrest.
In a more recent case involving the theft of copper in western McDowell County, the grand jury indicted three individuals, Haskel Blankenship, 26, Buddy Blankenship, 23, and Ricky Johnson Jr., 29, all of Panther, on one count each of damage to public utility property, and one count each of conspiracy.
Trooper First Class B.J. Garretson was the lead investigator of a detachment-wide investigation into the theft of copper from public utilities in the western section of McDowell County. State police arrested two suspects, Haskel Blankenship and Johnson on July 20, 2012, and arrested Buddy Blankenship later.
— Contact Bill Archer at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Local News
- U.S. shipping coal overseas
Firefighters worked scenario nearly identical to tunnel incident
David Thompson Sr., chief of the Green Valley-Glenwood Volunteer Fire Department said on Sunday that regional emergency responders had met in Wytheville, Va., in June to discuss a emergency response that was similar to the real life emergency that occurred Friday afternoon in the northbound lanes of the East River Mountain Tunnel.
Eight inducted into Tazewell High School Hall of Fame
The Elite Eight were honored by the Tazewell High School Hall of Fame Saturday.
Eight honorees — Glen Riddle, Charles Grindstaff, Whitney Davis, Carol Green Robertson, James “Robbie” Colley, Ralph “Moon” Mullins, James Farley and Don Necessary, Sr. — were inducted Saturday at THS in the seventh annual presentation coordinated by chairman Lawrence (Debo) Johnson. They join 50 previous honorees in the select group of former graduates, supporters and friends of THS as chosen by the HOF committee.
- Danville nips Bluefield in 12 innings
- Practice scenario nearly identical to real-life tunnel fire
Two transported from Route 460 wreck
Two people were transported to a Mercer County hospital following a two-vehicle wreck Sunday afternoon on U.S. Route 460 at the intersection with Willowbrook Road.
- PRINCETON POLICE DEPARTMENT July 17-23
Active warrants in Tazewell County July 27
The Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office is currently seeking the following individuals. Anyone with information concerning the whereabouts of these individuals can call the sheriff’s office at 276-988-1167 or the Tazewell County 911 Center at 276-988-0902.
All tunnel lanes open
Traffic on Interstate 77 was still backed up about 14 miles in Bland County, Va., Saturday evening, but the Virginia Department of Transportation reported at about 6 p.m. that both northbound lanes of I-77 through East River Mountain were open to traffic.
Firefighters’ story: Working together put the fire out
Lights in the southern end of the tunnel illuminate an odd design beside the catwalk near the left lane of the northbound tube of the East River Mountain Tunnel that transports I-77 from Virginia into West Virginia. Two firefighters who made the initial assault through the total darkness of the soot and smoke-filled tunnel left those marks as they slid their arms along the catwalk wall on their journey back to the light.
- More Local News Headlines