The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

May 27, 2013

Stanaford man shot dead; stepson charged with murder

STANAFORD — Gunfire shattered the calm of a Saturday morning, leaving a Stanaford man dead and his stepson behind bars, charged with first-degree murder and the attempted slaying of his mother, who escaped when the gunman’s pistol misfired.

Facing the charges is 23-year-old Donald Gray Dunn Jr., who was booked at Southern Regional Jail without bond.

Killed in the 11 a.m. shooting was his stepfather, Mark McDermott, 47, who lived at 1002 Overlook Drive.

Sgt. Larry Lilly, chief of detectives for the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office, said the motive remains under investigation, along with other details of the case.

“We do know pretty much all that as far as motive,” the officer said. “It’s not something we’re prepared to release just yet.”

Johanna McDermott avoided injury in the incident after her son shot and killed her husband because the small-caliber handgun misfired when he aimed it at her, Lilly said.

“Essentially, he pointed the weapon at her and attempted to fire the weapon,” the detectives chief said. “For whatever reason, the ammunition didn’t function. We did see on the shell where the firing pin had struck the primer, but it was a misfire.”

Lilly said the gunman stood at “a very close range” when the shooting occurred.

Just how many times McDermott was shot wasn’t determined immediately.

“That’s still under investigation,” Lilly said. “We’re hoping the medical examiner can shed some light on that.”

Lilly said the suspected shooter remained at the scene and made no attempt to resist arrest when police arrived at the dwelling. Authorities were called to the house by the suspect’s mother.

The 6-foot, 185-pound Dunn faces one count of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder.

Bond cannot be set in the case until the suspect is taken before a circuit judge, presumably no earlier than Tuesday, because of the Memorial Day holiday.

“Where it’s a capital offense,  only the judge can set the bond,” Lilly said. “We’ve obviously got enough information to charge. It’s a very good case on this one.”

Text Only
Latest News
  • pittsburgh rally 5,000 rally in Pittsburgh against EPA Clean Power Plan

    The echo of people chanting, “Hey, hey, EPA, don’t take our jobs away” could be heard in downtown Pittsburgh Thursday.

    The voices came from about 5,000 United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) members and their families, along with other unions such as the Boilermakers and the Brotherhood of Electrical Workers International (IBEW), marching through the streets.


    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Alpha plans to idle coal workers

    Approximately 1,100 employees at 11 Alpha Resources-affiliated surface mines, preparation plants and other support operations in southern West Virginia got notice late Thursday afternoon that their jobs could be in jeopardy.


    August 1, 2014

  • New rules to fight black lung disease kick in today

    Joe Massie has spent the last 22 years of his life fighting a disease that takes his breath away, a disease he contracted deep underground in the coal mines over a period of 30 years. 

    Black lung may take away his breath; it has not stilled his voice.

    August 1, 2014

  • target red Zero tolerance Target Red campaign hopes to lessen intersection crashes

    It happens every day.

    A driver hurries on his or her way to work, school or maybe nowhere in particular. Just ahead, a green light turns yellow. With a little more gas, the vehicle just might be able to clear the intersection before that light turns red. Or maybe not. 

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Alpha announces intention to lay off 1,100 surface miners

    The announcement dealt another blow to Appalachia's iconic, but dwindling, fossil fuel industry. The company said 2015 industry forecasts show Central Appalachian coal production will be less than half of its 2009 output. It's due to a combination of familiar factors, Alpha said: competition from cheaper natural gas, weak domestic and international markets and low coal prices.


    July 31, 2014

  • Justice mines have violations in 5 states

    A West Virginia coal billionaire has more than 250 pending violations at mining operations in Kentucky and four other states.

    July 31, 2014

  • VA Greenbrier clinic to remain closed

    The Department of Veterans Affairs Greenbrier County Community Based Outpatient Clinic will remain closed due to ongoing correction of environmental concerns. 

    July 31, 2014

  • prezarrested.jpg Protesters arrested at UMWA Rally in Pittsburgh

    After marching from the David L. Lawrence Convention Center to the William S. Moorehead Federal Building in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, around 15 United Mine Workers of America (UMW) leaders were arrested.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Mercer shooting sends one to hospital

     One person has been shot following an apparent altercation in the Montcalm area of Mercer County.

    July 31, 2014

  • UMWA1.jpg More than 5,000 protesting new EPA rules at rally

    Today, 73 buses will bring miners and UMW members to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for a labor rally and march through downtown Pittsburgh.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story