The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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June 4, 2014

Stoumille attempted murder case goes to jury

— Both the prosecution and the defense have rested their cases in the attempted first degree murder trial of Raymond Page Stoumile.

Raleigh County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Tom Truman presented three witnesses Wednesday: Greg Lavender, Cianna Johnson and Raleigh County Sheriff’s Detective J.E. Williams.

Lavender, a convicted felon who served 15 years for possession of cocaine, said he and Stoumile have been friends for a number of years.

Lavender said he was at Club Phoenix the night of the shooting, Jan. 28, 2011, and although he said he only remembers the night “to a certain degree,” he confirmed that Stoumile was present at the club.

“I never seen nobody pull no gun or nothing like that,” Lavender said.

He could not confirm whether or not he saw the shooting victim, Anthony Johnson, at the club, as he did not know him very well.

Lavender was on probation at the time and prohibited to be at a location serving alcohol; during a conversation with his probation officer, Lavender told him that Stoumile was the shooter.

“I told him what I thought he wanted to hear because I didn’t want to go back to jail,” Lavender said Wednesday.

He confirmed he saw “two or three” muzzle flashes, but not the actual shooter.

The next witness, Johnson’s wife of four years, Cianna Johnson, said she only remembered when she was at the hospital with Anthony, but not actually being at the club that night.

Cianna told police in a recorded interview, which was played for the jury, that Emmanuel Stoumile (Raymond’s brother) and Anthony got into a fight.

But in court, Cianna aggressively told Truman she didn’t remember anything from that night because she was high on Xanax.

“That’s all I’ve got to say,” Cianna said.

Defense attorney Robert Dunlap asked her if she remembered seeing his client at Club Phoenix; she said she did not remember.

Detective Williams was then asked to testify, as he was the officer tasked with locating Stoumile after the incident.

The shooting happened in January and Williams said Stoumile was not located until three months later at a jail in Ohio.

Dunlap referenced a witness who named another man, Nick Johnson (Anthony’s brother), as the shooter, and noted that Nick has multiple convictions involving gun-related crimes.

Dunlap asked Williams why police never followed up on interviewing Nick; Williams said police were focusing primarily on Stoumile.

Truman asked Williams to confirm that the suggestion that Nick was the shooter was provided by a witness that wasn’t even at the club.

“Yes,” Williams said.

The state’s final witnesses, Emmanuel Stoumile (Raymond’s brother), could not be located to provide testimony, so the state rested its case.

The defendant told the court he did not want to testify, so the defense called its first and only witness, Raymond’s sister Jashama Stoumile.

Jashama, 20, said she has lived in Columbus, Ohio, her entire life and from 2010 to 2012, her brother Raymond lived at her home with their mother and grandmother.

“Are you confident that your brother was living in that house with you at that time?” Dunlap asked.

“Yes,” Jashama replied.

Dunlap misspoke during several of the questions, asking about Jan. 8, 2011 instead of Jan. 28, 2011.

Truman countered, “Is it your habit to keep track of your brother’s activities?”

“No,” she replied.

He asked her how would she know her brother’s definitive whereabouts on both Jan. 8 and Jan. 28 of 2011.

“Did he ever leave the Columbus area during the time he lived with you?”

Jashama said no, but Truman noted three instances between 2010 and 2012 that Stoumile was in Beckley because he was interviewed by Beckley police officers.

The defense rested its case and made a motion for acquittal, but Kirkpatrick denied the motion.

The court reviewed the jury instructions and the jury will return at 1 p.m.

— E-mail: wholdren@register-herald.com

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