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Police look to 2013 for new information in unsolved slayings

Gazette file photo
In this photo dated Sept. 10, Charleston police detectives investigate a cordoned off area outside of 403 Piccadilly St., near Interstate 77, where inside man had been fatally shot. Police investigated 10 homicide cases in 2012, three of which remain unsolved.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston police detectives hope a new year treats them to fresh witnesses and evidence for 2012's unsolved slayings.

By the year's end, police investigated 10 homicide cases in Kanawha County. Three of those, committed in the Charleston area, remain unsolved.

In one of those cases, detectives are at a standstill without suspects or motives left to follow. In the other two, detectives are waiting for key people to come forward with information to make arrests, Charleston Police Sgt. Bobby Eggleton said.

"We hope there's people with information out there that want to start their new year out by bringing closure to these victims' families," he said.

On May 26, boaters discovered the body of Robert "Bob" Kenneth Snow floating in the Elk River. Snow, 55, of 103 Arlington Ave., had no known enemies and police are unsure who would want him dead.

On Aug. 11, the body of Charleston resident John Allan Rogers Jr., 37, was found dead from a gunshot wound on the railroad tracks at Madison and Wyoming streets in the West Side. Police said they're seeking Everett Hunter, 23, of Charleston, as a person of interest in connection to that slaying.

Officers found Clinton "Blue" Jerome Green, 39, dead with multiple gunshot wounds lying along 924 Main St. in the West Side on Nov. 22.

Detectives were given strong leads in that case, Charleston Police Lt. Steve Cooper told reporters following the slaying. However no one has been arrested in connection.

Eggleton said he hopes to bring closure in honor of the victims and their families. Some of those families frequently stay in touch with the department's Criminal Investigation Division, he said.

Robert Snow's family is one of those families. Annette Snow, his ex-wife, said it's frustrating not knowing what happened to him and her family is always seeking answers to endless questions. Even detectives cannot answer the questions of who would want him dead and why.

Snow had worked as a district manager at 7-Eleven for about 15 years, overseeing 10 stores in Kanawha County. He was supposed to attend a meeting the night of May 23, but he never made it. Detectives traced his cell phone activity from that night to Elkview. He possibly was on his way to Clendenin.

His body was found bound by duct tape in the Elk River three days later. Police found his seemingly untouched SUV parked off Westmoreland Road.

Not knowing what happened to him has prevented her family from fully healing, Annette Snow said.

If Robert was alive today, she said, he would most likely be planning a trip to Arizona to visit their sons, Michael and Robert Jr., and their two young grandchildren.

"[My sons] had just saw their father in December and it was the first time he met the grandchildren -- my youngest son's children," Annette Snow said. "They had an awesome visit. I'm thankful they got to spend time with him and I thank God they have an awesome memory of the last time with their grandfather."

She prays someone will come forward with the information that police need.

Eggleton said the number of slayings in 2012 is on par with previous years. Four people were killed in Charleston in 2011. In 2010, there were 11 slayings, two of which remain unsolved.

For Kanawha County's remaining homicide cases in 2012, police are confident they believe they know what happened:

  • On Jan. 17, a small Institute apartment was the scene of a grisly murder-suicide that shocked even veteran police officers. Nathaniel Roy Lawton, 54, allegedly killed his live-in girlfriend, Carol Ann Rhim, 53, inside 107A Barron Drive. Police said Lawton then cut up Rhim's body and dumped it along U.S. 35 near the Putnam and Mason county border. Lawton fatally shot himself on Jan. 19 right as deputies knocked on his door to serve a search warrant in connection to Rhim's disappearance.
  • In Rand on Aug. 7, police said Brent Lee Burdette, 19, fired one shot at William "Willie" Cordle III, 21. Cordle later died at CAMC General Hospital. According to police, Burdette said he shot Cordle with a small handgun because the man was "running his mouth." Police charged Burdette with first-degree murder and he's currently being held in South Central Regional Jail awaiting trial.
  • Police said Stacy Marie McCormick, 30, stabbed her boyfriend, David Snyder, 52, in his upper chest at her home along Washington Avenue on the West Side of Charleston on Aug. 16. McCormick had been jailed on a malicious wounding charge when Snyder succumbed to his injuries at CAMC General Hospital on Aug. 20. Police then upgraded McCormick's charge to first-degree murder. She's currently being held in South Central Regional Jail awaiting trial.
  • A failed robbery attempt was apparently behind the fatal shooting of Roy Chambliss, 40, on Sept. 14, police said. Daniel O'Keith Little, 29, and Jarod Edward Washington, 29, went to the Chambliss' home along 403 Piccadilly St. on Charleston's West Side on two occasions and tried to sell two guns, police said. Little and Washington ordered Chambliss to open his safe and then both men fired upon him and his roommate, police said. The roommate was treated for minor injuries, but police pronounced Chambliss dead at the scene. Washington was later captured in Winfield and police captured Washington in Beckley. Both men were charged with first-degree murder and are currently in South Central Regional Jail awaiting trial.
  • On Oct. 11, police found David Juaboi Booker, 26, lying dead with multiple gunshot wounds on a sidewalk on the 1200 block of Milton Street on Charleston's East End. Fragments from a white-colored car discovered near the scene of slaying allegedly led detectives to Richard Bernard Hilliard, 24. A first-degree murder charge warrant was issued against Hilliard and he surrendered to police on Christmas Day. He is currently in South Central Regional Jail awaiting trial.
  • Among the suspects charged with first-degree murder, two were later convicted of lesser charges following a trial:

  • John Edward Hudson, 38, of Ashford, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter for shooting Michelle Gillispie, 38, on Jan. 27 at Gillispie's home along Winifrede Hollow near Chesapeake. Hudson said he shot his friend "under sudden excitement" moments after he disarmed her of a loaded gun she had pulled out, prosecutors said.
  • Hudson, a convicted felon, faces eight to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced under state recidivism laws.

  • Police charged 22-year-old Ethan Chic-Colbert, of Charleston, with first-degree murder and kidnapping in connection to the death of Jahlil Clements, 11.
  • Just after midnight on March 4, police said Chic-Colbert began arguing with his girlfriend, Lynitrah Woodson, as they were driving down I-77. Chic-Colbert turned and allegedly began beating Woodson, who was driving.

    When she pulled over near the Leon Sullivan Way exit, Chic-Colbert pulled her out of the car and began to hit her on the roadside, police said.  Clements was also in the car and jumped out and ran into oncoming traffic, waving his arms for help.  One car swerved to miss him, but another clipped him on its passenger side, the force of the impact knocking his shoes off, killing him.

    Chic-Colbert was convicted in July of domestic battery, child neglect resulting in death, and three counts of gross child neglect creating a serious risk of bodily harm or death. Kanawha Chief Circuit Judge Duke Bloom dropped the murder and kidnapping charges because he said the connection to the murder charges were too remote. Chic-Colbert was sentenced to up to 30 years in prison and is being held in South Central Regional Jail awaiting transfer to prison.

    Reach Travis Crum at travis.crum@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.


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