Christopher Wyatt Bailey

Christopher Wyatt Bailey signs a heart to his family as he is escorted from Mercer County Circuit Court Judge Mark Wills’ courtroom following a status hearing in a murder case in which he is a suspect. 

PRINCETON — A Mercer County man facing charges of first-degree murder and first-degree robbery relating to the May shooting death of a Virginia resident was found not competent Tuesday to stand trial. 

Christopher Wyatt Bailey, 27, of Bluefield was indicted last October for first-degree murder and first-degree robbery in the May 4 shooting death of 47-year-old William Lee Simons of Tazewell, Va. 

Trooper R.L. Jones with the West Virginia State Police Princeton detachment testified at Bailey’s preliminary hearing that he went on May 5 to Dawson School Road off Airport Road after receiving a call about an abandoned vehicle and found the body over an embankment about 153 feet away from the car. The man had been shot multiple times including two shots in an arm and into the torso as well as one between the shoulder blades in the upper back.

Jones said Simons’ pockets had been “turned inside out,” indicating a robbery, and a blood-stained $100 bill was found to have been spent by Bailey at an S&S Express the morning of May 5, according to video evidence. Jones also testified that it appeared Simons had run from the car and “ran out of his flip-flops.”

Eight discharged 9-mm shells were found within 10 feet of the body, and a 9-mm magazine, a folding knife and a cellphone were found nearby, Jones stated at the preliminary hearing.

Bailey was arrested on May 7. After he was determined to be a suspect, the house where he was living was searched with the owner’s permission. A Taurus 9-mm handgun was found, Jones said. Bailey’s uncle told investigators that the gun belonged to him, but Bailey had one like it.

The investigation also showed, after the examination of video surveillance, that a Taurus 9-mm had been purchased at a Green Valley pawn shop by a woman Bailey accompanied, Jones said.

Bailey was brought Tuesday before Circuit Court Judge Mark Wills for a status hearing.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney David Pfeifer said that Bailey had been ruled incompetent to stand trial, “but he may obtain competency.”

“So we sent him to a mental health facility to see if he can regain competency to stand trial,” Pfeifer stated.

 If Bailey is found competent, his cases could be brought back to court, Pfeifer said.

Bailey has been held without bond at the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver. 

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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