Murder-for-hire trial postponed

The trial of two men allegedly involved in what investigators believe is a murder-for-hire plot has been delayed at the request of the prosecuting attorney.

The trial of 30-year-old Robert Eugene Siron III of Weston and 29-year-old Jessie Lee Heater of Buckhannon will take place at some point during the next term of the Upshur County Circuit Court.

Both men are charged in the death of Joshua Oberg, whose remains were discovered in a shallow grave along Bull Run Road in July 2012. Both have been held without bond in separate Regional Jails since their arrests. An Upshur County grand jury indicted the two men in January on felony charges of murder, conspiracy and concealment of a deceased human body.

Senior-status Judge John Henning did not set a new trial date for the two men. The trial was originally scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. today with jury selection. The next term of the circuit court begins May 13.

Upshur County Prosecuting Attorney Jacob Reger asked for the postponement because he had only recently been able to turn over materials to the defense attorneys. He also said during an April 4 pre-trial hearing that he had not received the medical examiner’s reports.

Heater’s attorney, James Hawkins, had objected to the delay and asked that any evidence that had not been given to the defense by the court’s deadline be excluded. Siron’s attorney, Steve Nanners, also stressed that the two men have been in jail since July 2012, but were not indicted until January 2013.

Reger called the case “complicated,” adding that it was not one “where someone is murdered and the body’s found immediately.”

West Virginia State Police investigators testified during a preliminary hearing in Upshur County Magistrate Court last summer that they believe Rodolpho “Chino” Correa Villagomez of Buckhannon paid Heater $5,000 to kill Oberg after Villagomez learned that Oberg had allegedly become romantically involved with Villagomez’ wife. The troopers also testified that Siron gave a statement to them about Heater allegedly giving Siron $500 to remain quiet in the days after Oberg’s death.

Villagomez was charged with being an accessory before the fact to first-degree murder, but he has not yet been indicted by an Upshur County grand jury. Reger said that case remains under investigation. Villagomez, however, is also facing a six-count federal indictment on immigration-related charges.