CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For the second time in a few weeks, a Kanawha County judge has barred lawyers from speaking about a high-profile murder case -- this time regarding a man accused of strangling a co-worker to death and burying her in his back yard.
Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom granted a gag order during Charles Eugene March's preliminary hearing Friday on charges linked to the death of Kathy "Sheila" Goble, whom police say was buried in the back yard of March's Chesapeake property shortly after she went missing in 2010.
Bloom did not release a written explanation for the gag order, but it appears to be based on a motion from March's lawyer that complained of media coverage in the case, and accused law enforcement agencies of releasing prejudicial information against March to the public.
Last week, jail officials said, March tried to kill himself by climbing on a railing in a South Central Regional Jail pod and falling backward about 15 feet to the concrete floor. He was treated at CAMC General Hospital for undisclosed injuries.
On Friday, March was strapped onto a gurney and wheeled into the courtroom for his arraignment. Bloom granted a request for a mental evaluation that might determine if March is competent to stand trial or whether he is criminally responsible for killing Goble.
Bloom entered a not-guilty plea on March's behalf, and set the trial for Dec. 10.
Police arrested March in late April, after his son, who was attempting to fill a sinkhole behind his father's trailer at 12736 Ohio Ave. in Chesapeake, found Goble's remains.
Goble and March had worked together for years at Kelley's Mens Shop.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Kanawha County Magistrate Court, March admitted to deputies that he strangled Goble the night she went missing, wrapped her body in a blanket and placed her in a bathtub. He buried her in his back yard the next day, he told deputies, according to the complaint.