Mercer County Courthouse

The Mercer County Courthouse is seen in Princeton in this file photo.

PRINCETON — Attempted first-degree murder, DUI causing death and first-degree robbery were among the indictments handed down by the June 2021 term of the Mercer County Grand Jury.

Kaleb Jakeh Starkey, 20, of Princeton was indicted on charges including attempt to commit first-degree murder, use of a firearm during the commission of a felony and wanton endangerment, according to the criminal docket released Thursday by the Mercer County Circuit Clerk’s Office.

Starkey was arrested last year in connection with a Jan. 5, 2020 shooting. The Princeton Police Department sought Starkey after he allegedly went to a business on North Caperton Avenue and opened fire from a moving vehicle, Chief T.A. Gray of the Princeton Police Department said then. One shot or more of the shots hit a window at the nearby Amy’s House of Hope.

Starkey was later apprehended after a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of Route 460 and Locust Street near Princeton. He is currently being held without bond at the Southern Regional Jail.

In another case, the grand jury returned indictments including DUI causing serious bodily injury, DUI of controlled substances causing death, driving while license revoked, operating a motor vehicle without required security, expired registration, wanton endangerment and prohibited person in possession of a firearm against Bobby Glenn Trent, 36, of Princeton.

Trent was arrested in October 2020 after a crash in the 3180 area of Matoaka Road in Lashmeet, Deputy J.S. Bish of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department said after the incident.

In the criminal complaint, Bish said that when he arrived on the scene, he saw a silver Pontiac sitting off the roadside and a black Ford resting on its top in the road.

Bish stated in his report that he saw an elderly female, Daisy Ryan, on her back, and not moving, on the driver’s side of the Ford. He then checked her and found “a faint and light pulse.” He tried to get Ryan to regain consciousness. After multiple attempts, he began to check for a pulse again and was unable to find one.

Trent later said he was the Pontiac’s driver, Bish said in his report. Trent was taken to Princeton Community Hospital where he consented to a blood draw, Bish said in the report. While at the hospital, Bish spoke to the ER charge nurse and was informed that Ryan was deceased. The Ford’s driver had “possible life-threatening injuries.”

After a drug recognition evaluation (DRE) was conducted, Bish was advised that Trent was “under the influence of a drug and was unable to operate a motor vehicle safely,” according to the criminal complaint.

Indictments on charges including first-degree robbery, conspiracy, wanton endangerment and unlawful possession of a firearm by a prohibited person were returned in the cases of Timothy Tyrone Gibbs, 31 and Amy Dawn Mitchem, 20, of Bluefield, according to the indictments list.

The case began Jan. 14 at Strawberry Loop Road near Princeton in which one person, Gibbs, was shot. After an investigation, Gibbs arrested in Welch by the U.S. Marshals Service. Gibbs was on federal probation, according to Detective–Sergeant S.A. Sommers with the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department.

Gibbs told investigators after the shooting that he was walking from the intersection of Maple Acres Road and Glenwood Park Road. He said that when he arrived at Strawberry Loop, he was confronted by a male individual who “attempted to rob him and steal his cellphone,” and that he was shot after a fight started and the male “produced a firearm and Gibbs was shot,” Lt. M.T. Hatfield of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department said in his report.

A search of Mitchem’s cellphone, which was conducted after a search warrant was obtained, showed that Mitchem and Gibbs had “conspired together” to lure a Bluefield man to Strawberry Loop Road, and “Timothy’s intent was to commit robbery,” Hatfield said. The intended victim thought that he was going to pick up a bag for Mitchem.

The man, who was found with help from the Bluefield Police Department, said he had a Glock 9-mm with him, Hatfield said in the report. When he arrived at his destination, he “heard what sounded like a slide of a semi-automatic pistol and was met by gunfire. He stated that he fell back, quickly checked himself for injuries and was able to return fire.” Fearing for his life, he fled the area.

Sommers said this man was not facing charges.

Gibbs is being held at the Southwestern Regional Jail on a $25,000 cash-only bond.

In another case, a Mercer County man who injured a deputy Feb. 16 and fled the scene was indicted on multiple charges.

Matthew James Davis, 35, of Princeton was indicted on charges including fleeing an officer while operating a vehicle in a manner showing reckless indifference to the safety of others, fleeing an officer causing bodily injury to another, fleeing from an officer while driving under the influence of a controlled substance, assault during the commission of a felony and DUI causing injury, according to the criminal docket.

Deputy J.S. Bish of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department was hit while answering a call about two people passed out in a vehicle at a Kegley business’s parking lot, according to a criminal complaint filed by Detective-Sergeant S. A. Sommers.

Bish responded to the call along with Lt. S.J. Cary, Cpl. J.M. Ellison and Deputy D.A. Calloway. When the deputies made contact with Davis and a woman who was with him, Miranda Ellis, Davis refused to give his identification. When members of the Princeton Rescue Squad tried to assess his condition and the condition of Ellis, Davis “refuses to speak with them,” Sommers said.

When the car’s doors were unlocked, Bish opened the driver’s side door and ordered Davis to get out, Sommers stated in the report.

“The accused refused, gripping the steering wheel and gear shift. Deputy Bish ordered him to release the gear shift, but he refused and placed the vehicle in reserve and accelerated,” Sommers said. “Deputy Bush orders the accused to stop the vehicle, while attempting to remove the accused from the driver’s seat.”

“The accused accelerated in reverse into a ditch with Deputy Bish halfway in the vehicle. The vehicle stops briefly while in the ditch and then the accused accelerates through it, across U.S. Route 19, throwing Deputy Bish from the vehicle onto the pavement,” Sommers said in the report. “When Deputy Bish struck the pavement, he was knocked unconscious.”

Corporal Ellison and Deputy Calloway pursued Davis while Lt. Cary aided Bish. Bish was taken to Princeton Community Hospital where he was treated and later released. After a chase in which Davis reached speeds of up to 90 mph, Calloway was “able to strike the rear of the accused’s vehicle and stop at it” at Country Route 71.

Chief Deputy Joe Parks said after the incident that Davis was taken to Princeton Community Hospital when a warrant was obtained to have blood drawn for a evaluation. The hospital found that Davis had a preexisting condition, and he was transferred to another medical facility. While there, he checked himself out.

Davis returned to Mercer County where he became involved in another vehicular pursuit the night of Feb. 20 that started in the Spanishburg area, Parks said. The car was wrecked and Davis was apprehended. There were no injuries. The West Virginia State Police Princeton detachment was in the pursuit along with Mercer County deputies.

Davis is being held at the Southern Regional Jail on a $50,000 cash or surety bond.

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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