MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- A judge refused Tuesday to set bail for a 17-year-old girl charged with the premeditated murder of her former best friend, ordering her to remain in a juvenile detention facility until trial next year.
Monongalia Circuit Judge Russell Clawges postponed Shelia Eddy's trial on first-degree murder, kidnapping and conspiracy charges to the week of Feb. 11. He also delayed hearings on other pre-trial motions so defense attorney Michael Benninger can collect more evidence to argue them.
Benninger is seeking a change of venue and said he has "thousands of pages'' of evidence to submit to help demonstrate that Eddy can't get a fair trial in Morgantown. He contends that publicity surrounding the 2012 stabbing death of 16-year-old Skylar Neese has tainted the pool of potential jurors.
Benninger also wants the judge to suppress the confession of Eddy's alleged co-conspirator, Rachel Shoaf. He told the judge he also expects to file more motions on his client's behalf once he's had time to fully review an FBI report.
Shoaf has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and is awaiting sentencing. She, too, is being held in a juvenile detention facility.
Benninger said Eddy should be released on home confinement and 24-hour monitoring until her trial, arguing that she is no threat to the community, the victim's family or Shoaf. He added that Eddy has been in constant contact with his office since January, when Shoaf told investigators about the plot and where to find Neese's body.
But Monongalia County Prosecuting Attorney Marcia Ashdown objected, saying Eddy is charged "with the most serious offenses a defendant can be charged with in this jurisdiction.''