PRINCETON — A fatal crash involving newlyweds, a case in which a man was arrested after his neighbor’s eyes were gouged, and first-degree murder charges resulting from a December 2019 shooting were among the indictments handed down this week by the October 2020 Mercer County Grand Jury.
Four people were indicted on charges relating to the Dec. 22, 2019 death of Edward Earl Duck III in Brushfork. Deputies with the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department found Duck in a car parked outside a Brushfork Road home when they answered a complaint from a male individual who said he had been shot. Duck later died at Bluefield Regional Medical Center.
The grand jury indicted Kaleb Jordan Merritt, 24; Deliezha Devonte Gravely, 23; Deron Adolph Yarrell, no age available; and Andrea Paige Fry, 21, on charges of first-degree murder, first-degree robbery, conspiracy and unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Gravely and Merritt were members of the Dirty Money Gang that sells controlled substances in the Bluefield area, Detective Cpl. M.S. Horn of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department said in a criminal complaint.
Horn testified during Gravely’s preliminary hearing about how he was called to the scene in December 2019 after Duck was found in a car outside 3379 Brushfork Road. Duck first told deputies that his name was Bobby Campbell, but investigators soon learned his real name. He had a single gunshot wound near the right of his collar bone. A single .45-caliber shell casing was found between a space heater and a mattress in the house along with about 1.5 pounds of crystal methamphetamine. Robbery was the apparent motive behind the incident.
The shell casing had marks showing it was fired from a “striker” type .40-caliber firearm, Horn said. A Springfield XD .40-caliber was found in a vehicle with Merritt when he was stopped by an officer with the Bluefield Police Department for a seat belt violation. This pistol uses the same striker system as the gun which ejected the shell found at Brushfork; however, tests must be conducted to determine whether it is the weapon which was used in the shooting.
Merritt is being held at the Southern Regional Jail on a $250,000 cash or surety bond, and Paige is being held at the same facility without bond. There was no record Friday for Gravely and Yarrell at the regional jail.
In another case, the grand jury indicted Richard Wayne Ellison, 48, of the Rock area on a second-degree murder charge. Ellison was arrested May 17 after the death of Benny Foutch, 72, of Reese Harmon Ridge Road. The investigation started when the Princeton Rescue Squad answered a call about mental hygiene and found the victim’s body outside his home.
Detective-Corporal M.S. Horn, the case’s lead investigator, stated in his criminal complaint that when they found the victim on his porch, “blood was coming from his orbital sockets.”
Ellison’s girlfriend later told detectives that “Richard had made some comments about the rooster belonging to Benny Foutch bothering him with the noises it made. She advised he went up there and that she heard some beating noise on the building area where the rooster was kept and then she heard some angry yelling,” Horn stated in the report. “She had left because she was afraid of Richard Ellison and how he was acting. She later came back and advised that Richard Ellison admitted to her that he killed the rooster and that he killed him, pointing up to Benny’s residence.”
Horn described in his report how he interviewed Ellison after advising him his Miranda Rights.
“I asked him what happened with him and Benny, he then made the hand motion of pressing his thumbs to his eyes,” Horn said in the report. “He advised he went up there to kill the rooster because of a movie he had watched and because it was crowing. He later explained that he pressed his thumbs into Benny’s eyes, he advised that he stayed there until he knew Benny was dead. He made the statement that he killed him, referring to the incident with Benny. He made a reference that Lucifer made him do it. He kept asking me to shoot him, that he deserved it. He then talked about getting somebody in the jail to kill him.”
Ellison is being held at the Southern Regional Jail on a $200,000 cash-only bond.
The grand jury also indicted Ricky Lynn Olivo Jr, 40, of Woodstock, Va. on charges including driving under the influence with serious bodily injury; driving under the influence of controlled substances causing death; driving while license revoked; failure to maintain control of a motor vehicle; and operating a motor vehicle without required security.
Olivo was arrested after a head-on collision May 24 between a vehicle he was driving and a UTV being driven by a couple who had recently married. Corey Lee McKinney of the Montcalm area was pronounced dead at the crash scene on Crane Creek Road, Sgt. A.P. Christian with the West Virginia State Police Princeton detachment stated. His wife, Sabrina McKinney, was seriously injured.
Christian said that a preliminary investigation revealed how Olivo’s vehicle was left of center when it hit the UTV.
— Contact Greg Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org