By Sarah Plummer
Beckley Police Department had a busy year, and one crime that stands out most in Chief Tim Deems’ mind is a home invasion in which two men bound and gagged an 86-year-old woman around 5 a.m. June 14 on Crescent Road.
Two men left the woman bound with a belt and fled with electronics, jewelry, money and the homeowner’s car.
The suspects, Christian Hines, 26, and Kevin Saunders, 25, both of Mabscott, were arrested just a few hours later when police found the homeowner’s car outside a Mabscott home off Chestnut Street.
Deems said the suspects were charged for kidnapping, second degree robbery, burglary and conspiracy to commit a felony.
The charges are still pending in circuit court, he added.
Deems said the most surprising case for Beckley Police is actually a series of cases.
Police investigated a total of six murders during 2012 when they usually average two or three a year, he said.
Three of the city’s murders were shootings, two were stabbings and one was a beating.
Two of the six were connected to drugs, two were domestic occurrences and the last two were nondomestic physical altercations.
Deems said that while police have closed nearly all of these murder cases, one case remains open.
Jeffrey Terrell Singleton, 22, was found dead March 3 in his home on Harlan Court.
Singleton had suffered two fatal gunshot wounds to his abdomen. When police arrived, the door was locked and there were no signs of forced entry.
Deems said police are investigating persons of interest, but no charges have yet been filed.
Police are still asking anyone with information on Singleton’s murder to contact Beckley Police at 304-256-1720 or CrimeStoppers at 304-255-7867.
The third top Beckley crime story of the year is a positive one.
In 2012, Beckley Police Department had the largest drug arrest in the agency’s history with 1,600 30-milligram oxycodone pills worth around $70,000 taken off the street after a traffic stop Sept. 23.
William P. Ponder, 23, of New York, had been under investigation for distributing drugs in the area.
Ponder was arrested with Nara Ray, 36, of Beckley, in the area of Interstate 64 near Grandview.
This arrest was a collaboration between Beckley Police Department’s Drug Task Force and the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department.
Beckley Police Detective Lt. Gant Montgomery said Ponder is out on bond and charges are pending against him through the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
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