PRINCETON — Three county men have been indicted on murder charges in separate cases by the Mercer County grand jury.
Christopher Wyatt Bailey, 27, of Bluefield, was indicted on a first-degree murder charge related to a May 4 shooting incident near Dawson School Road off Airport Road.
Bailey, who was also indicted on a first-degree robbery charge, was arrested May 7 after the body of William Lee Simons, 47, of Tazewell, Va. was found May 5.
West Virginia State Trooper R.L. Jones, the investigating officer, testified at Bailey’s preliminary hearing that he went to the scene after receiving a call about an abandoned vehicle and found the body of a white male 153 feet away from the car over an embankment.
The man had been shot multiple times, he said, including two shots in the arm and into the torso and one between the shoulder blades in the upper back.
Jones said Simons had appeared to run from the car and “ran out of his flip-flops.”
Eight discharged 9mm rounds were found within 10 feet of the body, he said. A 9mm magazine, folding knife and cell phone were also found nearby.
Jones said Simons’ pockets were “turned inside out,” indicating a robbery, and a $100 bill with blood on it was later found to have been spent by Bailey at an S&S Express on the morning of May 5, according to video evidence.
Jones said residents in the area were questioned by State Trooper Sgt. A.P. Christian and some said they had heard gunshots. Another resident said a man, who was later identified as Bailey, came to his house wanting a ride at 10:22 p.m.
Jones said Bailey’s uncle had picked him up on Airport Road at 11:10 p.m.
After Bailey was determined to be the suspect, the house he was living in was searched after the owner consented.
“We were able to locate a box in his (Bailey’s) bedroom,” Jones said, and a Taurus 9mm handgun was found. Bailey’s uncle told Jones that gun belonged to him but Bailey had one just like it.
An investigation also found through video surveillance that a Taurus 9mm had been purchased at a Green Valley pawn shop by a woman who was accompanied by Bailey.
Jones said the gun had been purchased within a month of the shooting.
Bailey is being held with no bond at Southern Regional Jail.
Darrell Wesley Hazelwood, 47, of Princeton was indicted on a first-degree murder charge related to the shooting death of Tessa Hill in August.
During the preliminary hearing in the case, Hill’s father, Larry James White of Murdock Street near Princeton, testified about a fight he witnessed outside his home involving Hazelwood, his daughter Tessa Hill, and her longtime boyfriend Ronnie Ferrell.
“When I got outside, Ronnie had (Hazelwood) down on the ground,” White said. “They were tussling back and forth.”
The fight moved into the street and Ferrell ended up on top of Hazelwood, White said, adding that his daughter tried to pull Ferrell off Hazelwood.
“I pulled Tessa off,” White said. “I think she said, I’m not positive, ‘Ronnie, you’re going to hurt him...Ronnie let him up...’”
White testified that Hazelwood rose after Ferrell got off him, reached into his waistband, pulled out a gun, cocked it and fired at Ferrell. Ferrell was not hit. White said Hazelwood stated, “This will teach you to double team me (expletive),” and shot Tessa Hill while she was lying in the street. She was shot once in the head.
Hazelwood is incarcerated at Southern Regional Jail with no bond.
A Bluefield man, Timothy Paul Hager, 22, was also indicted on a first-degree murder charge related to the July shooting death of Joshua Rasnick.
The case started when deputies with the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department were dispatched to Stoney Ridge Road after a shooting was reported, according to a report filed by Detective Sgt. S.A. Summers with the sheriff’s department.
Upon arrival, deputies located a female individual who said she was the person who called 911 and said that Hager had shot her boyfriend, Joshua Rasnick. Deputies found Ransack near the home’s front door “deceased from several gunshot wounds.”
Deputies and troopers with the West Virginia State Police Princeton Detachment were able to locate Hager in the woods and after a short foot pursuit he was taken into custody on unrelated charges, Sommers said in the report.
The girlfriend told investigators that while she was inside the residence Hager and Rasnick had an argument and as Rasnick was walking towards the front door, he was shot “with what she believed to be a rifle.”
After the shooting ,she ran out the front door to a neighboring home and called 911.
A search warrant was executed at 1277 Stoney Ridge Road, Sommers said. Six spent shell casings were found near the victim and two rounds were found on the kitchen floor.
“An AK-47 semiautomatic rifle was found outside, behind the residence, with a 30-round magazine loaded with 18 rounds of 7.62x39, identical in caliber to those found inside the residence,” Sommers stated.
Hager is being held at Southern Regional Jail on a $50,000 cash only bond.
Contact Charles Boothe at email@example.com.