Lewis County double murder suspects returned from Ohio

The two remaining suspects in a Lewis County double murder case were returned to West Virginia Wednesday and are being held without bond in the Central Regional Jail.

David Martin Hughes, 58, and Charles Steven Freeman, 51, both of Archbold, Ohio, were apprehended Sept. 19 by Archbold police officers and Fulton County, Ohio, sheriff’s deputies. They both waived extradition proceedings, and they have returned to face two counts each of murder, robbery and kidnapping stemming from the 1999 deaths of 69-year-old Maxine Stalnaker and her 45-year-old daughter Mary Geneva Friend.

A third suspect facing the same charges, 39-year-old Joseph Edward Metz of Horner, is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Lewis County Magistrate Court at 9 a.m. Friday. Metz is the son of Friend and the grandson of Stalnaker. Metz is also being held in the Central Regional Jail since his arrest locally on Sept. 19.

No court dates have been scheduled for Hughes and Freeman.

According to the police report contained within the criminal complaint filed in Lewis County Magistrate Court, Hughes, while the owner of the Wilderness Plantation, allegedly conspired with Freeman and Metz to have the two women kidnapped, robbed and killed because Friend possessed a writing tablet with information about alleged illegal criminal transactions regarding Hughes’ business affairs. Hughes was concerned the information could be turned over to law enforcement officers, the complaint stated.

Metz and Freeman allegedly removed the two women from their residence on Fox Run Road and took them to a location along Jesse Run Road, where they allegedly took a purse and allegedly killed the two women, according to the complaint. The purse was uncovered by a fisherman in Lewis County in 2002.

The complaint also stated that Metz and Freeman called Hughes after allegedly killing the two women and disposing of their bodies,and they then allegedly turned the writing tablet over to Hughes.