CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — The trial for a man charged in the 1981 slaying of a 7-year-old West Virginia boy began with a detective testifying about the defendant’s videotaped confession.
Harrison County Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Dixon Pruitt testified Monday that defendant William Clyde Jeffries told authorities the killing began with him intending to molest Conrad Roger “C.R.” Diaz. Jeffries said he tricked the victim into going to a wooded area but then they heard voices and “all hell broke loose.”
Police reopened the investigation of Diaz’s death in 2017 and arrested Jeffries the following year. Jeffries, who was 17 at the time of the killing, has pleaded not guilty.
Although most court proceedings in the state have been suspended due to the coronavirus, the case is proceeding to protect Jeffries’ right to speedy trial. He has been incarcerated for more than two years.
“The state’s evidence will show Jeffries took Diaz to the woods to molest him; when he wouldn’t be quiet, he killed him,” Harrison Prosecutor Rachel Romano said during her opening statement.
“I’ll show you why and how this young man was killed, and by who,” Romano said.
Defense attorney Christopher M. Wilson said Jeffries was cleared in the original investigation. He said the state’s case is primarily based on a February 2018 confession.
He urged jurors to listen to all parts of that statement and study the mannerisms of investigators and the defendant. If jurors do that, Wilson predicted they will come to the conclusion that Jeffries simply eventually told investigators “what they wanted to hear,” and acquit the defendant.