PRINCETON — A trial for a man facing first-degree murder in the 2010 stabbing death of a McDowell County woman has been rescheduled while a witness for the prosecution serves in the West Virginia Legislature.
The trial of Michael Wiseman, 56, of Welch was set for March before Circuit Court Judge Mark Wills. In October 2022, the Mercer County Grand Jury indicted Wiseman for first-degree murder in the 2010 stabbing death of his former sister-in-law, 36-year-old Crystal Cantrell, with whom he was having a relationship, according to court documents.
Cantrell’s body was discovered on Aug. 10, 2010, in the Bluestone River along Gardner Road near Spanishburg. Wiseman had a relationship with Cantrell and numerous witnesses had seen him harassing and stalking her, according to the criminal complaint filed by retired Corporal A.S. Reed of the West Virginia State Police Princeton detachment.
“The victim had made statements to friends that she was breaking up with the accused on the date of the murder,” Reed stated in the complaint, adding that Wiseman and Cantrell had been seen arguing along Gardner Road.
Prosecuting Attorney Brian Cochran said Thursday that a retired state trooper, Senator Vince Deeds, R-Greenbrier, 10th District, could not be subpoenaed to testify at Wiseman’s trial while the Legislature is in session.
“He was a trooper at the time working on the case, so he is a prosecution witness,” Cochran said. “He’s retired now and recently elected as senator.”
Wiseman’s trial had been set for March, but since the Legislature will still be in session, the trial was rescheduled Wednesday for May, Cochran said.
Cochran said that Deeds was not refusing to cooperate. By law, he cannot be called to testify once the Legislature goes into session.
“It’s just that my office is not even allowed to call him down here while the Legislature is in session,” he said, adding, “I’m sure he’d be willing to come anyway.”
During a November 2022 court hearing, Wiseman waived his right to a speedy trial. He is currently free on bond.
Cochran said that not many retired state troopers are elected to the Legislature, so it is rare for them not be able to testify at trial because of a legislative session.
“I’ve never seen it in my career as far as a prosecution witness from law enforcement,” he said.
— Contact Greg Jordan at email@example.com