Dec. 3-The defense attorney for a Beckley man who is charged with kidnapping and holding hostage a teenage Raleigh County woman inside a Harper Road hotel room in July 2018 said on Thursday that the shooting may have been accidental.
Raleigh County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Brian Parsons will argue that the defendant, Davide LaQuan Hudson, committed first degree murder when he kidnapped and shot to death Amber Dawn Meadows, a young woman who had attended Independence High School, on July 8, 2018.
Prosecutors have listed Meadows' age as 19, but a relative of the victim has pointed out that Meadows had not yet turned 19 on July 8, 2018, when she died inside a hotel room at the Travelodge hotel.
Meadows was shot in the back of the head, according to police and prosecutors on Thursday.
Defense attorney Robert Dunlap notified the court on Thursday that he may raise the defense that Hudson accidentally fired the shot that took Meadows' life.
Raleigh Circuit Court Judge H.L. Kirkpatrick heard statements from both Dunlap and Parsons regarding whether or not jurors should see crime scene photos. Kirkpatrick said on Monday and again Thursday, according to Parsons, that he will review photos and make rulings on which may be admitted as evidence.
The judge granted a number of motions on both sides, according to attorneys, including an order that the prosecution disclose contents of the testimony of a witness who was added to the prosecution's list on Monday.
Kirkpatrick ordered that the trial will start on Dec. 13 with jury selection and that he anticipates an entire day to select jurors, according to Dunlap.
Hudson and two other men - Kaleb Bird and Tyrique Pearl - are accused of kidnapping, at gunpoint, Meadows and two of her friends, Destiny Conkle and Arileah Lacy, while the three young women were parked at a Nell Jean Square business in Meadows' car on July 8, 2018.
The men are accused of forcing Meadows, at gunpoint, to drive to Travelodge on Harper Road, where Hudson, allegedly using a fake ID with the name of McCrimager, had rented two rooms. Conkle and Lacy told police that the armed men stole their cell phones and put them in ice and that they held the victims hostage inside one of the rooms. The women reported that the armed men verbally harassed them.
At one point, Conkle and Lacy reportedly told police, Hudson forced Meadows to leave her friends and to walk into an adjoining room. Witnesses heard a gun fire from the room.
Shortly after the shot was fired, the women said, the men grabbed their guns and ran away, leaving the victims to drive Meadows' car to a nearby parking lot to call 911.
When Beckley Police Department officers responded, they found Meadows had been killed.
In addition to the charges for Meadows' murder, Hudson is charged with two counts of kidnapping for allegedly kidnapping Conkle and Lacy.
Bird and Pearl are charged with two counts of kidnapping and conspiracy to commit a murder for their alleged roles in the crime.
Bird on Nov. 17 pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and kidnapping.
Parsons said that, in exchange for the plea deal, Bird has agreed to testify against Hudson at Hudson's December trial.
In an unrelated case, Hudson is currently charged with second-degree sexual assault and conspiracy to commit a felony.
According to police, while Hudson was on home confinement for shooting Meadows, he and another man, Alfred Pittman, allegedly sexually assaulted a woman.
Pittman has identical charges to Hudson for his alleged role in the sexual attack.
In 2015, Kirkpatrick had sentenced Pittman to a flat 15-year sentence for his role in invading the Hager Street home of victim Shannon Wilson and attacking her.
Pittman was also accused in the murder of Shawn Rucker in 2012. The murder charge in that case was dropped without prejudice, which means if new evidence ever incriminates Pittman, prosecutors may file the murder charge again.
Reporter's note: Previous articles reported that a fourth suspect, with the last name of McCrimager, had been charged and participated in the crime.
"McCrimager," according to Parsons, was a fake ID that was used by Hudson.