The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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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.”

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