The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Breaking News

Latest News

April 11, 2013

Man charged with murder in fatal house fire

LEWISBURG — A Quinwood man faces a first degree felony murder charge for allegedly setting a fire that led to the death of Dennis McKay Williams.

Harvey Lee Davis Jr., 35, was arrested by the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Department early Wednesday, only hours after Williams’ body was discovered in his fire-damaged home in Leslie.

According to Sheriff Jan Cahill, officers responded to the fire shortly after midnight, soon learning from firefighters on the scene “that there was a deceased man inside the residence.”

The dead man was identified as Dennis Williams, 56, who shared the home with his brother, Kenneth Williams.

“The information obtained from the firefighters led to further information that eventually led to the arrest,” Cahill explained.

According to a complaint filed by Sheriff’s Sgt. G.R. Workman, Davis and the Williams brothers had spent part of Tuesday night at the home the brothers shared “drinking beer and talking.”

Kenneth Williams told Sheriff’s Cpl. C.W. Bennett that an argument arose over Davis having pawned a chainsaw that belonged to Dennis Williams. Kenneth told Davis to leave the house, and Dennis went to bed.

A short time later, Kenneth Williams was outside the house when he saw what appeared to be fire on the structure’s rear porch. Although he ran back into the house and tried to extinguish the fire, he was unable to reach his brother, whom he heard screaming inside the home.

After confirming key portions of Kenneth Williams’ account of the evening with other witnesses, officers began to search for Davis. Sheriff’s Sgt. J.J. Martin found the man “hiding behind the guardrails on W.Va. 20 near the Bellburn Road intersection,” Workman wrote in the complaint.

Martin and Workman transported Davis to the Lewisburg Police Department for questioning.

While Davis initially denied even being at the Williams’ home at the time of the blaze, he eventually admitted igniting a couch that was on the house’s back porch, according to Workman’s complaint.

Davis was arraigned before Greenbrier County Magistrate Brenda J. Smith Wednesday afternoon. Smith found probable cause to bind the case over for the grand jury.

Cahill said he expects additional charges to be filed against Davis in connection with the arson, which is now under investigation by the state Fire Marshal’s office.

Also assisting in the sheriff’s department’s investigation was Deputy Travis Webber.

Davis is lodged in the Southern Regional Jail without bond.

— E-mail:

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