Judge won’t dismiss 20-year-old Fayette murder indictment

FAYETTEVILLE, WV (BY: SUSAN WILLIAMS, CHARLESTON GAZETTE-MAIL) — A judge ruled that even though some witnesses are dead and some evidence missing he would not throw out a murder indictment that grew from events in 1999 after a man’s burned remains were found outside of Oak Hill.

In 1999, tiny fragments of Jonathan W. Skaggs’ body were found in fire pit near where Alfred Clinton Toney lived at the time. For the first few years after Skaggs’ remains were found, investigators said they could not bring legal charges against anyone who might be responsible for Skaggs’ death because they could not determine from the fragmented and burned remains how he died.

Fayette County Public Defenders argued they were hampered in defending Toney because so much time had passed, taking with it possible witnesses. With these hurdles, they asked a circuit judge to dismiss the murder indictment against Toney, citing several reasons including the Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial and the Fifth Amendment to due process.

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