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Plants now hopes for witnesses in 2010 slaying

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In light of a recent decision to absolve one man of accusations that he killed another man on the West Side in 2010, Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants said Tuesday that he hopes more witnesses would come forward.

Plants recently filed a motion asking Kanawha County Circuit Judge Carrie Webster to dismiss David Washington Kinney's murder charges. Kinney, 33, was accused of shooting and killing Jeremy Parsons on Virginia Street West in 2010.

Webster granted the motion without prejudice, meaning Kinney could still be charged with the crime if new evidence emerges.

The prosecutor said this week that after the judge refused to allow experts to testify about bullet casings that could have connected Kinney to the crime, and refused to allow security video that allegedly placed him at the scene, he had no choice but to ask the judge to dismiss the case.

"Without those two pieces of evidence, I have no chance of prosecuting this case," he said. "As of now, there's absolutely nothing I can do."

Plants, however, said that there might still be witnesses who would be willing to come forward and implicate Kinney. The witnesses that investigators have talked with so far have been uncooperative, Plants said.

If new evidence surfaces, Plants said he could again present the case to a grand jury.

Kinney's lawyer, Tim DiPiero, said that Kinney has maintained his innocence from the beginning and DiPiero derided prosecutors for telling media outlets that they still believed he was guilty of the crime.

"[Dismissing the case] was the right thing to do, as the state never had evidence to convict him," DiPiero said in a news release. "However, some of the comments coming from their office have been disappointing and prompt our response."

In March, after State Police lab technicians spent months searching for mislabeled shell casings linked to the case, Webster agreed that the prosecutor's office committed "gross negligence" and refused to allow the state to submit the casings as evidence.

Plants appealed the decision, and the state Supreme Court later ruled that prosecutors did not intentionally withhold the casings and said they could be used as evidence, according to previous reports.

Webster, however, issued a second sanction that refused to allow an expert to testify about the bullets, essentially hamstringing the state's ability to link them to the Kinney, Plants said.

The other key piece of evidence, security footage taken from an AutoZone on Virginia Street, reportedly showed Kinney's and Parsons' cars near each other at the time of the crime, Plants said.

The judge would not allow a police officer to authenticate the video, according to Plants.

"It is what it is," he said. "The state's position is both of these pieces of evidence are absolutely admissible."

On July 4, 2010, at about 4:40 p.m., Parsons, driving a green Cadillac, was gunned down at the intersection of Park Avenue and Virginia Street West. He was shot once in the head and twice in the arm, and crashed into a concrete wall across from the West Side Save-A-Lot, according to previous media reports.

Parsons was originally from Detroit but had recently moved to the Poca area.

Investigators believed Kinney shot Parsons because the two men were feuding over a woman, according to DiPiero.

Police never found the 9 mm handgun believed to be the murder weapon. Kinney is an avid gun collector and had magazines from various guns in his home, DiPiero said.

"They just didn't have much," he said. "Their identification, description didn't match David, [there were] various descriptions of the vehicles involved. Basically they had no scientific evidence. In my opinion, the case never should have been indicted."

Reach Zac Taylor at zachary.taylor@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.


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