www.wvgazette.com http://www.wvgazette.com Gazette archive feed en-us Copyright 2014, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers Funerals for: December 18, 2014 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/OBIT01/312189968 OBIT01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/OBIT01/312189968 Thu, 18 Dec 2014 00:02:37 -0500 Britt, Mary B. 10:30 a.m., Highlawn Baptist Church, St. Albans.


Cavender, Paul R. 1 p.m., Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.


Chambers, Indra 11 a.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.


Cook, Calvin 2 p.m., Bartlett


Coon, Cora K. 2 p.m., Waybright Funeral Home, Ripley.


Crede, Carma L. 11 a.m., Our Lady of the Hills Catholic Church, Elkview.


Crist, Jimmy R. 11 a.m., Fidler and Frame Funeral Home, Belle.


Evans, Eugenia 1 p.m., Taylor


Hager, Davey G. 1 p.m., Harding Funerals & Cremations, Kanawha City.


Hunt, Rosemary C. 2 p.m., First United Methodist Church, Ravenswood.


Jones, Calvin E. 1 p.m., Stevens & Grass Funeral Home, Malden.


Ruggles, Andrew J. Noon, Freeman Funeral Home, Chapmanville.


Sequine, Twylah C. 10:30 a.m., The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter


Simmons, Roy M. 1 p.m., Morris Funeral Home, Cowen.


Sweet, Andrianna Noon, Wallace & Wallace Chapel, Rainelle.


Ward, Mary F. 2 p.m., Wilcoxen Funeral Home, Point Pleasant.


Wolfe, Wanda 2 p.m., First Presbyterian Church, Charleston.

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C. Richard Ashby http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/OBIT/312189983 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/OBIT/312189983 Thu, 18 Dec 2014 00:02:29 -0500 Mr. C. Richard Ashby, 72, of Liberty, went home to be with the Lord on Dec. 17, 2014 at home.

Richard was retired from Cabot Gas and a member of Allens Fork Community Church.

Mr. Ashby is survived by his wife of 52 years, Mrs. Joyce Ashby; children, Lisa Cecil of Alum Creek and Charles R. "Chuck" Ashby Jr. of Fairplain; brothers and sisters, Basil Carroll Ashby of Liberty, Jennings Averil Ashby of Kenna, Gary David Ashby of Gay, Ronnie Ashby of Sissonville, Timmy Ashby of Sissonville, Anita Kay Rogers of St. Albans and Sheila Edens of Kenna; grandchildren that he adored, Joshua Lee Ashby, Kaleb Cecil, Steven Fisher, Bethany Cecil, Carrigan Ashby and Tucker Ashby; and great-grandson, Travis Ashby.

A tribute to the life of Richard will be 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20, at Allens Fork Community Church, Sissonville, with Pastor Jerry Bonnett officiating. Burial will follow in Emma Chapel Cemetery.

The family will receive friends 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Allens Fork Community Church.

Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.hardingfamilygroup.com.

Gatens-Harding Funeral Home, 147 Main St., Poca, is serving the Ashby family.

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Everett "Mike" Barker Jr. http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/OBIT/312189980 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/OBIT/312189980 Thu, 18 Dec 2014 00:02:31 -0500 Everett "Mike" W. Barker Jr., 68, passed away Dec. 13, 2014.

He was the loving father of Ricky, Scotty (Tina), Melissa, Allen (Cathy), Everett III and Nathaniel; dear grandfather of 12; loving son of the late Everett and Mabelee; beloved brother of Edie, Bobby (deceased), Esther (deceased) and Kathy (deceased); and loving uncle and friend of many.

Visitation will be 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 19, at Craciun Berry Funeral Home, 7200 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, Ohio.

Funeral will be 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20, at Morning Star House of Prayer, Ridgeview, with the Rev. J.R. Mooney officiating. Burial will follow in Barker Cemetery, Ashford. Friends may call one hour prior to the service at the church.

Leonard Johnson Funeral Home, Marmet, is in charge of arrangements.

Condolences may be sent to the family at leonardjohnsonfuneralhome.com.

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Mark Carpenter http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/OBIT/312189990 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/OBIT/312189990 Thu, 18 Dec 2014 00:02:26 -0500 Mark Carpenter, 36, of Robinette, died Dec. 15, 2014. Service will be 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 23, at Accoville Methodist Church. Visitation will be 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 22, at the church. Arrangements by James Funeral Home, Logan.

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Paul Richard Cavender http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/OBIT/312189996 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/OBIT/312189996 Thu, 18 Dec 2014 00:02:23 -0500 Paul Richard Cavender, 89, of Kenna, peacefully departed this life Monday, Dec. 15, 2014 at Hubbard Hospice House, Charleston, after a long illness.

He was preceded in death by his parents, sister and two brothers.

Paul was a good man who was loved for the warmth and caring in his heart. He was a wise man who taught by the fine example of his life. He was a strong man who worked hard and always did his best for his family. We celebrate you, Daddy – a man who was good, wise strong and the truest kind of success – a man who is loved more than he could have possibly known.

Paul was a Christian, who truly loved the Lord. He attended Fisher Chapel United Methodist Church. He left his family and friends with the hope of reuniting with him in Heaven someday.

He was a veteran of the United States Navy and retired from General Glass Company.

Paul is survived by his wife of 65 years, Macel; children, Debbie (Mike), Paula (Kent), Terri (Stanley) and Larry (Cindy); grandchildren, Danny, P.R., Ric, Ryan, Caleb and Hannah; and great-grandchildren, Zach, Chelsea, Katie, Nathan, Seth, Carlee, Silas and Zeke.

The family would like to express their sincere appreciation to Hospice Care for their kindness and compassion in caring for Paul.

Funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 18, at Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar, with Pastor John Hayes officiating. A private burial will follow in Grandview Memorial Park, Dunbar.

Visitation will be two hours prior to the service on Thursday at the funeral home.

Online condolences may be expressed at www.kellerfuneralhome.net.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Hospice Care, 1606 Kanawha Blvd. W., Charleston, WV 25387.

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Mary M. Ferguson http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/OBIT/312189978 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/OBIT/312189978 Thu, 18 Dec 2014 00:02:31 -0500 Mary Magdalene Ferguson, 81, of Milton, died Dec. 17, 2014. Service will be 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20, at Bethel Baptist Church, Milton. Visitation will be 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 19, at Heck Funeral Home, Milton.

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Betty A. Fleshman http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/OBIT/312189977 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/OBIT/312189977 Thu, 18 Dec 2014 00:02:32 -0500 Betty A. Hodge Fleshman, 90, of Alderson, died Dec. 16, 2014. Service will be 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 19, at Wallace & Wallace Funeral Home, Lewisburg, with visitation beginning one hour prior.

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Martha Hughlett Giltinan http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/OBIT/312189997 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/OBIT/312189997 Thu, 18 Dec 2014 00:02:22 -0500 Rev. Dr. Martha Hughlett Giltinan, 57, of Beaver, Pennsylvania, died December 12, 2014 after a prolonged illness.

She was born in Charleston, West Virginia, November 10th, 1957, the daughter of Alexander Smith Giltinan and Allen Carter Giltinan.

Martha was a graduate of St. Catherine's School, held degrees from Wheaton College, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Virginia Theological Seminary, and received her Doctorate from theTrinity School for Ministry.

Martha served as Rector of St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Ayer, Massachusetts, and assistant rector at Christ Church of Hamilton and Wenham, South Hamilton, Massachusetts. She joined the faculty of Trinity School for Ministry, Ambridge, Pennsylvania, in 2005.

Martha was a priest of the Anglican Church in North America, as well as a lifelong student, pastor, and teacher. She was a strong willed and courageous person, fervent in the faith that sustained her in life and comforted her in illness. "Death has no dominion over me" was the theme for her battle with leukemia, and she lifted family and friends with the scriptural reference (Romans 6:9 NKJV) on many occasions.

The family thanks Rev. Tina Lockett and the assembly of friends and medical personnel in Pittsburgh and Boston who supported her in her struggle.

Martha is survived by her mother Allen Carter Giltinan, and her brothers Thomas Allen Taylor, William M. Giltinan, and Alexander S. Giltinan, Jr.; beloved aunts Katherine B. Giltinan and Ethelind G. Eddy; nieces Amanda Taylor (m Randolph Winter), Anne Taylor, Sage Lamott, and nephew Christian Taylor; cousins and scores of friends. She was predeceased by her father Alexander Smith Giltinan, Sr.

Funeral service will be held at The Church of the Ascension, 4729 Ellsworth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, January 3rd, 2015 at 1 p.m.

A memorial service will be held at Kanawha United Presbyterian Church, 1009 Virginia Street East, Charleston, WV, January 4th, 2015 at 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders, P.O. Box 399, Ambridge, PA 15003, or Christians for Biblical Equality, 122 W. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55404.

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Allen K. Hambrick http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/OBIT/312189986 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/OBIT/312189986 Thu, 18 Dec 2014 00:02:28 -0500 Allen K. Hambrick, 92, of Charleston, went home to be with the Lord on Dec. 16, 2014. Service will be 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20, at Charleston Mountain Mission Church, with visitation beginning one hour prior. Burial will be in Elk Hills Memorial Park, Big Chimney, on Monday, Dec. 22. Cunningham-Parker-Johnson Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

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James Edward Hiller http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/OBIT/312189991 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/OBIT/312189991 Thu, 18 Dec 2014 00:02:26 -0500 James Edward Hiller, 68, of Belvidere, N.C., passed away Dec. 16, 2014 after a long battle with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Casdorph & Curry Funeral Home, 110 B St., St. Albans, is in charge of arrangements.

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Coonskin bridge construction wraps up for year http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/GZ01/141219232 GZ01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/GZ01/141219232 Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:16:16 -0500 By Rusty Marks Construction on the new bridge into Coonskin Park is finished until after the first of the year, but is on track for an opening next October, Kanawha County parks officials learned Thursday.

County Parks Director Jeff Hutchinson said contractors finished placing steel beams for the bridge across the Elk River this week, completely spanning the river. Construction crews have wrapped up work for the year, but will start again after Jan. 1 as weather permits, Hutchinson told members of the Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission at a regular meeting Thursday.

The $6.2 million project will create a new entrance to Coonskin Park, allowing the West Virginia National Guard to close off Coonskin Drive to the public. State officials say they need to close Coonskin Drive to correct security concerns and Army and Air National Guard headquarters facilities along the road.

The new bridge is scheduled to open in October 2015.

Also Thursday, Terrell Ellis of the West Virginia Land Trust told parks board members about plans for maintenance and upkeep of the Wallace Hartman Nature Preserve in Charleston. The 52-acre tract of woods was donated to the county park system in 2001, and also granted a conservation easement through the land trust.

Ellis said she needs the parks board's permission to fix drainage problems on the property, maintain trails and treat trees threatened by parasites. The parks board will take the matter up at their next meeting.

Parks officials dropped a discussion of changing the name of Coonskin Park from their meeting on Thursday after a public outcry over the proposal. Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Allen Tackett had suggested naming the park after longtime parks board member and Kanawha County Commissioner Hoppy Shores.

Tackett told parks board members Thursday the public clearly did not want the name of the park changed, and apologized if he caused fellow members any embarrassment or trouble.

Reach Rusty Marks at rustymarks@wvgazette.com, 304-348-1215 or follow @rusty_marks on Twitter.

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Agriculture Department schedules hearing on livestock market transfer http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/GZ01/141219234 GZ01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/GZ01/141219234 Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:39:25 -0500 The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) will conduct a public hearing regarding a proposed transfer of ownership of the Greenbrier Valley Livestock Market in Caldwell to Brandon Myers of Lewisburg. The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. Jan. 6 in Building 2 of the Gus R. Douglass Agricultural Center, located at 217 Gus R. Douglass Lane in Guthrie, near Sissonville.

For more information, contact the WVDA Marketing and Development Division at 304-558-2210.

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Paul: Trade with Cuba 'probably a good idea' http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/GZ01/141219235 GZ01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/GZ01/141219235 Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:32:40 -0500 By Ken Thomas The Associated Press WASHINGTON - Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday that starting to trade with Cuba "is probably a good idea" and that the lengthy economic embargo against the communist island "just hasn't worked."

Paul became the first potential Republican presidential candidate to offer some support for President Barack Obama's decision to try to normalize U.S. relations with Cuba. The president's surprise announcement on Wednesday was slammed by several potential GOP candidates, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who said it amounted to appeasing the Castro regime.

Paul said in a radio interview with Tom Roten of News Talk 800 WVHU in Huntington, West Virginia, that many younger Cuban Americans support opening up trade with Cuba. He also said many U.S. farmers would back Obama's moves because the country is a new market for their crops.

"The 50-year embargo just hasn't worked," Paul said. "If the goal is regime change, it sure doesn't seem to be working and probably it punishes the people more than the regime because the regime can blame the embargo for hardship.

"In the end, I think opening up Cuba is probably a good idea," he said.

Paul's comments parallel those of Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton, who wrote in her book, "Hard Choices," that the embargo was a failure that gave the Castro regime "a foil to blame for Cuba's economic woes."

Obama said Wednesday he would ease economic and travel restrictions on Cuba and attempt to partner with Congress to end the trade embargo. His announcement came after Cuba released American Alan Gross, who had been imprisoned for five years, and a Cuban who had spied for the U.S. In exchange, the U.S. freed three Cubans jailed in Florida.

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Rand shooting victim dies; suspect charged with murder http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/DM01/141219236 DM01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/DM01/141219236 Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:05:25 -0500 By Marcus Constantino A Rand man has been charged with murder Thursday after the victim of a Wednesday morning shooting died from the injury.

Leonard Dewayne Thomas, 44, was arraigned by Kanawha magistrate Pete Lopez on charges of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Gerald Martin Maxwell, 28, also of Rand. Maxwell was pronounced dead at 11:26 p.m. Wednesday as a result of a gunshot wound to the head.

When asked by a reporter if he had anything to say to Maxwell's family, Thomas quietly said, "I'm sorry."

Police said Maxwell was shot in the head about 9 a.m. Wednesday in the 5300 block of Starling Drive in Rand. According to the criminal complaint against Thomas, police learned a description of the suspect from witnesses within about 90 minutes of arriving at the scene of the shooting. Witnesses said "D," a nickname police later linked to Thomas, had shot Maxwell in an apartment. They directed police to a residence on Raven Drive, where Thomas was found.

Maxwell was taken to Charleston Area Medical Center early Wednesday with "life-threatening" injuries.

Thomas was arrested on charges of malicious wounding after admitting to police that his nickname was "D." Thomas told police that he had been staying in the apartment where the shooting occurred, and that he gave the firearm to "a particular person" following the incident.

The malicious wounding charges were dropped and Thomas was charged with murder after Maxwell died late Wednesday.

Thomas is being held in South Central Regional Jail without bond.

Contact writer Marcus Constantino at 304-348-1796 or marcus.c@dailymailwv.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/amtino.

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2 NY residents face cigarette transport charges in W.Va. http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/GZ01/141219237 GZ01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/GZ01/141219237 Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:55:18 -0500 The Associated Press MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Two New York residents face charges of illegally transporting cigarettes from Virginia to West Virginia.

The Berkeley County Sheriff's Office tells media outlets that deputies arrested Roy Brown, 54, and Donne Wilson, 20, on Wednesday night following a traffic stop.

The sheriff's office says a deputy stopped the Rochester, New York, residents' vehicle on Interstate 81 near the Maryland border after receiving information that they had bought a large amount of tobacco products in Virginia.

The vehicle was towed to the sheriff's office and searched after a warrant was obtained. Deputies found 160 cartons of cigarettes valued at about $10,000 in the vehicle's trunk.

Brown and Wilson are being held at the Eastern Regional Jail.

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Alleged Rand shooter charged with murder after victim's death http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/GZ01/141219238 GZ01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/GZ01/141219238 Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:34:40 -0500 Staff reports A man arrested for shooting another man in Rand was charged with murder on Thursday after the victim died.

Leonard Thomas, 44, was charged with malicious wounding in the shooting of George Maxwell on Wednesday.

Maxwell was declared "legally deceased" at 11:26 p.m. on Wednesday as a result of a gunshot wound in the head, according to an updated criminal complaint filed in Kanawha County Magistrate Court.

Thomas will be held without bond, said Magistrate Pete Lopez.

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In wake of Kopp's death, Marshall board to hold emergency meeting http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/DM01/141219240 DM01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/DM01/141219240 Thu, 18 Dec 2014 12:34:23 -0500 The Marshall University Board of Governors will hold an emergency meeting at 3 p.m. today in Huntington.

According to a news release from the university, they will discuss the timeline and process for naming an interim president following the sudden death of President Stephen Kopp on Wednesday evening. The board is expected to meet in an executive session to discuss personnel matters.

"I met this morning with the university's cabinet/senior vice presidents to review the university's continuity of operations plans," said Michael Sellards, board chairman. "I can assure you that President Kopp had an exceptional leadership team in place and I am confident that, together, we can continue the business of the university in a manner that would make him proud.

"The Board of Governors is vested with the authority to run the university. In the absence of a president, to whom those duties are usually delegated, I have directed that the day-to-day operations be covered in the interim by the senior leadership team. These extremely dedicated individuals are committed to keeping the university moving ahead in an expeditious manner."

That leadership team includes Dr. Gayle Ormiston, provost/senior vice president for academic affairs; Layton Cottrill, general counsel/senior vice president for executive affairs; Brandi Jacobs-Jones, chief of staff/senior vice president for operations; Dr. Jan Fox, senior vice president for IT/chief technology officer; Ginny Painter, senior vice president for marketing and communications; Mary Ellen Heuton, senior vice president for finance/chief financial officer; Dr. Ron Area, senior vice president for development; Mike Hamrick, athletic director; Dr. John Maher, vice president for research; and Dr. Joseph Shapiro, dean of the school of medicine.

Kopp was taken to Cabell Huntington Hospital on Wednesday evening after suddenly falling ill at home. He was pronounced dead at the hospital about 9 p.m.

His death came as a shock to many in the Huntington community, and all those on campus who had worked with him on university matters just hours before he died.

"Our primary concern at this time is for Jane, their children Adam and Liz, and their grandchildren," Sellards said. "We are doing everything possible to assist the family, and ask that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers."

Arrangements for a service have not yet been finalized but will be announced as soon as they are available. Check www.charlestondailymail.com later today for an updated story.

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Charleston man pleads not guilty in police informant murder http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/DM01/141219242 DM01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/DM01/141219242 Thu, 18 Dec 2014 11:36:11 -0500 By Andrea Lannom A Charleston man accused in the death of a police informant pleaded not guilty to his charges and could go to trial in February.

However, defense attorneys are asking for a bit more time to prepare documents and meet with the Capital Crimes Committee to state reasons why the death penalty shouldn't be sought in this case.

Marlon Dewayne Dixon, 38, of Park Avenue, appeared Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dwane Tinsley, who remanded him to the custody of the U.S. Marshal.

Dixon's attorney David Schles did not contest detention.

"I find he poses a risk of flight and is a danger to others and the community," Tinsley said.

Police arrested Dixon in July in connection to the murder of Branda Basham, who was found shot twice in the torso and once in the head.

Basham, 21, was a known prostitute but worked with police as an informant. Police say Dixon shot and killed her in retaliation for her giving information to police.

In October, Dixon was indicted on seven charges - heroin distribution, witness tampering, witness retaliation by killing, murder with a firearm during a crime of violence and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

He entered a not guilty plea on all charges and Tinsley set his trial for 9 a.m. Feb. 17.

If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison and also could be eligible for the death penalty if the Department of Justice Capital Case Review Team made the decision to seek that penalty.

In a Wednesday motion, Schles asked the court to enter a scheduling order, set a status conference in 120 days and continue his trial.

"At this time, the Department of Justice is in the preliminary stage of the capital case review process that will eventually result in a decision by the Attorney General whether to seek the death penalty," Schles' motion states.

Schles says defense counsel have been working on this but "have much to accomplish prior to presenting submissions to the Department of Justice and much of the work cannot commence until this Court enters an order authorizing expenditures on behalf of the defendant for a mitigation specialist and other expert services."

Tinsley did not take up this motion in Thursday's hearing.

After Thursday's hearing, Basham's family shared memories of her. Tammy Edens, her aunt, said she regularly visits Basham's grave and the railroad tracks near Breece Street, where police found Basham's body.

"I went to the railroad tracks where she was found and put up a Christmas tree," she said, noting she also put one up on her grave. "I went to her grave and I go up and talk to her."

One of the ornaments they have placed on the tree is a special laminated photo from last Christmas.

"She had redecorated her mom's tree to surprise her," Edens recalled. "She looked out the window at Rite Aid and Santa was there. She said, 'Tammy, we should get a picture with Santa,' not knowing that would be her last picture with him," Edens said. "She was so excited to go over there. ... That memory will always be with me. I'm so thankful we got to do that. ... She was such a beautiful soul."

Edens described Basham as "the most wonderful human being" who "would do anything for you."

"How do you go on? Everyone says it gets easier but it gets harder," she said.

Edens and Kim McMillion, another one of Basham's aunts, said they plan to attend every federal court hearing.

"We just want justice for Branda," McMillion said. "Give us justice."

Both said they believe Basham is still with them.

"Now she's flying high. ... She's right with us. ... She was such a sweet girl. It was so uncalled for," Edens said.

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Marshall holding emergency meeting after Kopp's death http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/GZ01/141219243 GZ01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/GZ01/141219243 Thu, 18 Dec 2014 11:22:49 -0500 By David Gutman The Marshall University Board of Governors will hold an emergency meeting today at 3 p.m. to discuss the university's presidency after the unexpected death of President Stephen Kopp Wednesday night.

It will be the board's second consecutive meeting, after holding its regularly scheduled meeting Wednesday afternoon. Kopp attended that meeting, as he always did, and showed no signs of ill health.

"As late as 2:30 in the afternoon, he was actively participating in the board of governor's meeting," said Marty Amerikaner, a professor of psychology and the faculty representative on the board. "He had just given a kind of impassioned presentation on his agenda for meeting with the Legislature. He was smiling and engaged."

He also met with soon-to-be state Senate President Bill Cole on Wednesday.

On Wednesday evening, Kopp hosted a reception for the Board of Governors at his home, said Amerikaner, who did not attend.

At about 9 p.m., Kopp was pronounced dead at Cabell Huntington Hospital after an apparent heart attack. He was 63.

"As everybody's saying, it's just a tremendous shock," Amerikaner said. "It's hard for any of us to kind of wrap our heads around this." He added that Kopp appeared to be in terrific shape.

In addition to the Board of Governors meeting, the university announced that its leadership team will meet today to review the school's immediate plans.

Oshel Craigo, a member of the Board of Governors, said that he's sure that Marshall is in a position to operate for a couple weeks without making any significant changes.

He said that the board would probably move to appoint an interim president and to initiate the search process for a new president at this afternoon's meeting.

"That's not going to be easy, [Kopp] was an excellent president, extremely smart and dedicated to Marshall University," Craigo said. "We'll have to find somebody that's really good that wants the job."

Amerikaner said Kopp's death was too shocking an event to really know exactly what will happen at the emergency meeting.

"Traditionally, an interim president would be named and some kind of a search for a president, but I really don't know," he said. "Historically, there have been interims named from different places both inside and outside of the university so I wouldn't even want to guess."

The Marshall faculty held a vote of no-confidence in Kopp last year after a quickly scrapped plan that would have changed the school's budgeting process.

"The university had moved on from that situation and there were a lot of new initiatives, a lot of new things going on on campus," Amerikaner said.

After several years of state budget cuts for West Virginia's colleges and universities, Amerikaner said he appreciated Kopp's advocacy for education funding.

"One of the things I've really come to appreciate about President Kopp is what an avid and passionate spokesperson he has become in recent years in the sort of centrality of higher education to the future of this state," he said. "He understood how important it was for the Legislature to support public education from both an ethical and an economic perspective."

Matt Hayes, Marshall's director of alumni relations, said that they were still trying to come to grips with what happened.

"It's so strange to talk about him in the past tense," Hayes said. "His fingerprints are on so many ongoing projects."

Kopp had planned to go to Florida for Marshall's matchup against Northern Illinois in the Boca Raton Bowl next week. He was looking forward to a break and some time with family over the holidays after the football game, Hayes said.

"He worked so hard and dedicated himself so tirelessly," Hayes said. "He was the first one to work and the last to leave just about every day."

Staff writer Caitlin Cook contributed to this report. Reach David Gutman at david.gutman@wvgazette.com, 304-348-5119 or follow @davidlgutman on Twitter.

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Dixon pleads not guilty to killing informant http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/GZ01/141219244 GZ01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141218/GZ01/141219244 Thu, 18 Dec 2014 10:53:25 -0500 Staff reports A Charleston man pleaded not guilty on Thursday to murder charges in the killing of a police informant -- a crime that could get him executed by the federal government.

Marlon Dewayne "Ice" Dixon, 38, is accused of killing Branda Mae Delight Basham in retaliation for her cooperation with police. Basham's body was found on railroad tracks on the West Side in July. She had been shot three times.

Dixon killed Basham to prevent her from testifying or continuing to provide information against him, according to federal prosecutors.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Dwane Tinsley agreed to a request filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Hanks not to allow Dixon to be released on bail because of the seriousness of the charges against him.

Tinsley stated that Dixon is a flight risk and a danger to others and the community. He will remain detained until further proceedings in the case.

Dixon's attorney, David Schles, did not contest the motion.

A trial has been set for Feb. 17 before U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston.

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