By SAMANTHA PERRY
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
TAZEWELL, Va. — A Tazewell, Va., woman pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and conspiracy Monday in connection with the March 2005 homicide of a Tazewell County man whose body was discovered in a remote area near the border of Tazewell and Smythe counties.
Chrystal Dawn Patrick, 32, faces up to life imprisonment on the murder charge, plus up to 10 additional years on the guilty plea to conspiracy, Tazewell County Commonwealth Attorney Dennis Lee said.
Patrick was charged in the death of Mark Anthony Witten, 30, whose body was located about a day after he was murdered in the Tannersville area of Tazewell County, Lee said.
“The evidence we have is that is where Mr. Witten was, in fact, murdered,” Lee said.
A second defendant in the case, William Patrick Greene, 26, of Tazewell, has also been indicted in connection with the case. Greene will stand trial in Tazewell County Circuit Court in September on first-degree murder and conspiracy charges.
“They (Patrick and Greene) were acquaintances of Mr. Witten,” Lee said.
“Mr. Witten apparently went with them willingly” to the Tannersville location, where he was then attacked, Lee said, describing the area where the body was found as somewhat isolated.
Witten’s body was discovered by two individuals picking up cans at a wide spot at the end of a dirt road, Lee said.
Lee said the case has been “difficult,” and thanked family members of the victim for their fortitude. “The officers worked very hard and put thousands of hours into work on this case,” he said. “I’d like to say the Commonwealth is very appreciative of both the officers’ work and the victim’s family’s patience and bravery throughout this.”
After Monday’s plea, the court ordered a pre-sentence report be prepared for Patrick and scheduled a sentencing date in October.
Both Patrick and Greene have been jailed without bond since their arrests.
— Contact Samantha Perry at firstname.lastname@example.org
By SAMANTHA PERRY