The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 23, 2013

Murder case being sent to grand jury

By Mary Catherine Brooks
Register-Herald Reporter

PINEVILLE — The case against a Wyoming County man accused of murder will go before the May term of the grand jury, according to Prosecuting Attorney Rick Staton.   

Probable cause was found on all charges, including an additional charge of sexual assault, during the preliminary hearing for John New, 20, of Briar Creek, Friday afternoon, Staton said.

New is also charged with the Feb. 12 first degree murder of Francis 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.

Bond was denied on the murder charge. He will remain in Southern Regional Jail until trial.

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 on those two charges.