The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 14, 2013

Bond denied for suspect in Wyoming murder case

By Mary Catherine Brooks
Wyoming County Bureau Chief

PINEVILLE — Bond was denied Thursday for accused murderer John New, 20, of Briar Creek, by Wyoming County Circuit Judge Warren McGraw. He will remain in Southern Regional Jail until trial.

New is charged with the Tuesday evening first degree murder of Frances Elaine Birchfield, 60, who lived alone on Shannon/Mill Creek Road in Brenton.

Authorities believe Birchfield was killed when she interrupted a robbery in her home, according to Wyoming County Sheriff Randall Aliff.

New is also charged with grand larceny in connection with the theft of the victim’s truck and daytime burglary. Bond was set at $250,000 cash only by Magistrate J.R. Boles on those two charges, Aliff said.

“He has confessed,” Aliff said Wednesday morning. “Robbery was the motive for him entering the house.”

Authorities were notified just after 6 p.m. Tuesday and began processing the scene as a homicide investigation, according to the sheriff.

Additionally, officers began talking to witnesses.

New was arrested by the Gilbert Police Department, in Mingo County, when he was spotted driving Birchfield’s truck a few hours later, Aliff said.

They stopped the truck and arrested the suspect, the sheriff noted.

The investigation is continuing.

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