West Virginia murder trial delayed by COVID

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — A murder trial in Martinsburg is another victim of spiking COVID-19 cases.

During a teleconference on Friday, prosecutors said one of their witnesses in the trial of Robert Landis Kramerage has tested positive for the coronavirus and two additional witnesses are in quarantine, The Journal reported. Still, Berkeley County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Kinser told the judge they were prepared to move forward with the trial on Wednesday.

The motion to postpone was from Defense attorney Craig Manford, who cited the increase in coronavirus cases as well as his client’s belief they could use more time to prepare for trial.

Twenty-third Judicial Circuit Court Judge Bridget Cohee said it would be in the public’s best interest to delay, saying she did not want to risk exposing jurors just before the holidays. She reset the trial for a January 6 start.

The 38-year old Kramerage, of Kearneysville, is charged with murder, burglary, robbery conspiracy, and unlawful possession of a firearm. He is accused of shooting and killing 34-year-old Joshua Case in his Martinsburg home on March 9 during a drug robbery.

Two others are charged in the killing and robbery. Christopher Duane Jackson, 42, of Harpers Ferry, has a separate trial scheduled for March 3. Michael Phillip Browning, 46, of Kearneysville, has reached a plea agreement with prosecutors that is being considered by the court. All three defendants remain incarcerated, according to court records show.