An informational network that is designed to help crime and rape survivors in West Virginia check an offender’s custody status has expanded to include all regional jails in the state.

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West Virginia has the third-highest rate of African American homicide victims in the nation, according to a study by the Violence Policy Center

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Updated: October 20, 2018 at 7:45 p.m.

Notorious Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger was found dead Tuesday morning in a federal prison in West Virginia. An official for a union representing prison guards said the death is being investigated as a homicide.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

When someone gets caught trafficking, making, or distributing drugs, more than likely, they wind up incarcerated. But should drug offenders who have done their time be denied food stamps? It’s a question we’ll turn over in this episode of West Virginia Morning.

More federal prosecutors will be used in a crackdown on gun and violent crime and drug trafficking in one West Virginia city. 

The number of prosecutors focusing on those cases in Huntington will be doubled immediately and tripled within weeks, U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart said Thursday. He didn't provide specific numbers.

Trey Kay

Two rivers run through Charleston, West Virginia. While most of the city is situated on the Kanawha, it’s the Elk River that demarcates the West Side from the governmental and business center of Charleston. Today, the West Side is the poorest neighborhood in Charleston.

Sunday dinner is a big deal in Deanna McKinney’s family. Deanna’s a de facto mom to her three sisters and two brothers -- when she moved to West Virginia from New York City, they came too.  These Sunday dinners are to remind the siblings that someone’s always got their back.

Deanna’s told the story of her son’s murder so many times, that she can recount it to me -- a relative stranger with a microphone -- while she picks out cornbread mix at the grocery store. His name was Tymel and his senseless death is an experience that has defined her life and informed who she is.

Huntington Police Department

The Huntington Police Department reports that crime was down but arrests were up in the city last year.

Preliminary statistics released Wednesday show that total reported offenses were down nearly 5 percent. However, arrests increased more than 6 percent.

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A correctional officer accused of bringing controlled substances onto the grounds of Salem Correctional Center has reached a misdemeanor plea deal due to an incomplete investigation.

A Kanawha County man has been charged with threats to a state government jobs agency.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Kanawha County Magistrate Court, Joseph William Estep threatened to blow up a WorkForce West Virginia office after being told by an employee during a Dec. 14 call that he would not receive money from his unemployment claim.


Two Huntington children have been injured after a homemade explosive was thrown into their living room.

Christy Cabell tells WCHS-TV that her children were taken to the hospital after a crudely constructed bomb made from a liquor bottle stuffed with fireworks was thrown through their home's window Tuesday night.

Cabell's 13-year-old son needed 13 stitches in his chest. The 2-year-old girl has several cuts on her face.

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The Greater Harrison Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force has received more than $480,000 from the sale of properties seized during a drug investigation.

The 10 properties included a former church and an uninhabitable home in Clarksburg.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury conducted the auction last week in Bridgeport in conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service. IRS special agent Mary Lou Prillaman tells The Exponent Telegram that the sale's proceeds totaled $484,000.

Money, Cash
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State officials are concerned about a decline in claims submitted to West Virginia's Crime Victims Compensation Fund.

Steve McElroy, the program's community liaison, estimates that the number of claims so far this year is down about by 100 compared to previous years.

“Every day I come to work and it’s something different,” Acting Director/Quality Assurance Manager at the West Virginia State Police Forensic Laboratory Sharon Lemons said, “that’s the excitement of it!”
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Sharon Lemons is the Acting Director/Quality Assurance Manager at the West Virginia State Police Forensic Laboratory. Any and all evidence collected at crime scenes in the state is processed through her facility:

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The Huntington Police Department was awarded a $100,000 grant Monday from the U.S. Department of Justice to study a crime ridden area of the city.

The grant is part of the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program.

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  Editor's Note: We are airing a four part series on West Virginia Public Radio, about the drug heroin and how it is affecting West Virginia. A recent Associated Press story reported the number of heroin deaths in the state have nearly doubled since 2010. In the first story, Ben Adducchio reports on why heroin is getting into the hands of so many people.

Paul Hess, WVVA-TV News

A national Muslim civil rights organization is calling on state and federal law enforcement to investigate the vandalism of a West Virginia mosque as a possible hate crime.

The Mercer County Sheriff’s Department is looking for vandals after the Islamic Society of Appalachian Region near Princeton was spray painted earlier this week.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, wants the FBI to join investigators.

Remembering the Death of President Kennedy
Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Fifty years ago Friday, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. The killing shocked the nation and world and, to this day, people still talk about it. Many West Virginians are remembering where they were the day the President was killed.

The West Virginians who are remembering that day include Mountain Stage host Larry Groce, who was living near Dallas at the time.

Others who share their memories include: Maura Brackett, who worked in the White House, and a Princeton man who served as a local campaign manager for Kennedy during the 1960 campaign.

Tremale Straughter of Rand pleaded guilty to a first-degree murder charge Monday before the start of his trial in the death of 19-year-old Harold Donovan Taylor.
In return for the plea, prosecutors agreed to drop three charges of wanton endangerment against Straughter.
Taylor's body was found inside a bullet-riddled car.  After the shooting occurred last February in Rand, Riverside High School, three middle schools and nine elementary schools were closed while police searched for a suspect.