The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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February 27, 2014

UPDATE: Lambert takes the stand in murder trail

Defense attorney Thomas Dyer called his client Jeremy James Lambert as his first witness Thursday, day three of the murder trial in the brutal slaying of 25-year-old Cyan Maroney in October 2011.

During the morning session, Lambert reviewed his background, stating that he had a good childhood and grew up in Mullens in Wyoming County.

After graduating with Wyoming East High School’s first graduating class (Mullens and Pineville high schools consolidated), he attended one semester of general studies courses at Mountain State University and later tried to enroll in the Registered Nursing program at Bluefield State College.

When he realized funding his education would be an issue, he enlisted with the U.S. Air Force; he was deployed to Kuwait in December 2002.

He reviewed his training received there and he said he had feelings of anxiety.

After returning home, he said he “didn’t want to go anywhere” and “didn’t want to talk to anyone about anything.”

He said he began drinking, which eventually led to a suicide attempt at a friend’s house. He said he loaded multiple rounds in his gun and then put the gun to his head. His friend then took him to his first of many trips to a VA hospital.

He was employed at Walmart in Fayette County in the sporting goods section for a while, but then accepted a position at the Beckley Walmart as a loss prevention associate.

At this point, he was living with some friends he had met during his military service, but he moved back in with his mother after another suicide attempt. 

He said he kept experiencing panic attacks, sleepless nights and anxiety.

After he was out of the Air Force, he tested at the Beckley Police Department and was offered a position. He said he “chickened out” of the training at the state police academy though, so he was not eligible to stay with the department.

He started working as a night auditor at the Oak Hill Holiday Inn, where he met his now ex-wife. She had a daughter and when the two decided to get married, Lambert said he wanted to join the Army to support his family.

Lambert said he did not get along with the members of his platoon where he was stationed, and his drinking began again. He began self-mutilation and said he started having suicidal thoughts and homicidal thoughts toward a major in the army.

Dyer then asked him a series of questions, which Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney Kristen Keller objected because they were “leading the witness.”

The jury was asked to leave the courtroom while the matter was discussed.

After reviewing the legal dictionary, Judge Robert A. Burnside said that leading questions “instruct the witness how to respond” and that those questions can be answered “yes” or “no.”

“The problem with leading questions are that they have the answer to the question within the question,” Burnside said.

Dyer argued that his questions were “perfectly permissible.”

Burnside said, “Did you go to the Grand Canyon while you were in Arizona?” would be a leading question; however, “Where did you go while you were in Arizona?” would be acceptable.

Burnside dismissed the court for lunch at noon and the afternoon session will continue at 1 p.m.

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