Vas murder trial pushed back again
ELKINS – The trial of a teenager accused of fatally stabbing a Tygarts Valley High School classmate at a football game last year will be pushed back again, this time to March.
Thomas Chevy Vas, 18, of Dailey, was in Randolph County Circuit Court Tuesday for a status hearing regarding his potential transfer from the Division of Juvenile Services to a regional jail.
In March, Vas pleaded not guilty to one count of murder, a felony, for allegedly stabbing Dustin “Dusty” White, 17, another Tygarts Valley student, outside the TVHS stadium Oct. 26, 2012. White died from injuries he suffered during the incident.
Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker brought in West Virginia Assistant Attorney General Martin Wright to speak Tuesday. Wright explained that since Vas, who was 17 at the time of the stabbing, is being tried as an adult, and is now 18, he could now be housed in a regional jail.
In terms of a transfer, Wright cited West Virginia State Code that stated juveniles who are tried as an adult and convicted could be transferred from a juvenile facility to a regional jail.
Wright further stated there was nothing in state code that prohibits a person in Vas’ position from being transferred to a regional jail.
Defense Attorney Timothy Prentice noted there was also nothing in the code that required Vas to be transferred, as he has not yet been convicted.
Prentice said the prosecuting attorney had provided no statutory support for the move.
“This is not a matter of whether he should be tried as an adult,” said Randolph County Circuit Court Judge Jaymie Wilfong. “But rather pending a trial and conviction, should he be removed from DJS to regional jail.”
Wilfong denied the transfer request, ruling that there was no statutory support for a transfer.
“According to the code, even with a conviction you have to jump through all kinds of hoops to get a transfer,” said Wilfong. “We haven’t even had a trial yet.”
Prentice requested a new court date to prepare for the trial, which will feature a large amount of witnesses.
“We are going to have to account for several different factors including pre-trial publicity, and the number of witnesses at the alleged scene of the incident,” said Wilfong. “We are looking at a jury pool of 200 people.”
Jury selection for the trial is set for March 10, with the trial set for March 11-14.
Also in Randolph County Circuit Court Tuesday:
– Robin Georgetta Moore, 34, of Belington appeared Tuesday regarding a previous plea hearing in November. Wilfong told Moore that she vacated the plea after the previous hearing and “wanted (Moore) to fully understand the plea and cover everything that needs to be covered.”
Moore pleaded guilty to two counts of parent, guardian and custodian allowing sexual abuse and one count of possession of materials depicting a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. In total, she could be facing 12 to 30 years in a state penitentiary and will have to register as both a child abuser and a sex offender.
Moore is set to be sentenced on Jan. 2.
Contact Chad Clem by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.