Michelle Mathias ...

Michelle Mathias, age and address unavailable, was arrested Friday for accessory before the fact to second-degree murder and possession of a sawed off shotgun in relation to a May 7 murder that occurred in the Tannersville community, Tazewell County Sheriff Brian Hieatt said.

By CHARLES OWENS

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

TAZEWELL, Va. — A third arrest has been made in connection with a Tazewell County homicide.

Michelle Mathias, age and address unavailable, was arrested Friday for accessory before the fact to second-degree murder and possession of a sawed off shotgun in relation to a May 7 murder that occurred in the Tannersville community, Tazewell County Sheriff Brian Hieatt said.

Hieatt said Mathias also has been charged for possession of marijuana and narcotics that were found on her during Friday’s arrest. She is being held at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Tazewell.

Two men also have been charged in connection with the murder.

Deputies were initially dispatched on May 7 to a report of an emergency call in the Thompson Valley area of Tazewell County involving a man who had been assaulted and needed rescue services, according to an earlier report by Major Harold Heatley with the sheriff’s office. While investigating that incident, deputies received information about another possible assault in the Tannersville area.

When deputies arrived, Douglas French, 63, was found deceased outside of his residence with evidence that an attack or assault had led to his death, the sheriff’s office said in an earlier statement.

Arrested ...

Pictured are John Austin Fields, age 21, of Chilhowie and Gabriel ‘Goob’ Peery, age 38, of the Tannersville area.

Information obtained from both crime scenes on May 7 led sheriff’s office detectives to start searching for Gabriel ‘Goob’ Peery, 38, of the Tannersville area and John Austin Fields, 21, of Chilhowie, Va., but who had been staying in Tannersville as well, Heatley said in the earlier report. Both were arrested last week.

Detectives working with Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Plaster obtained charges against the two men. They were charged with second-degree murder. Peery has also been charged with malicious wounding, and Fields has also been charged with malicious wounding and conspiracy to commit murder, Heatley said in the earlier report.

 — Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

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