The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Police/Courts

July 11, 2014

Probable cause found in alleged beating death

Probable cause was found against Don Douglas Dicken, a 34-year-old Pax man accused of the beating death of Glenn L. Farrow. Dicken’s case will be sent to the next Raleigh County grand jury session.

Farrow, 47, owner of People’s Auto Garage in Bradley, was found beaten to death inside his garage on May 16.

Two Raleigh County sheriff’s detectives testified Thursday before Magistrate Richard Jones; they described the investigation and the evidence found against Dicken, including an orange rainsuit with a drop of Farrow’s blood on it.

Public defender Marcia Hebb asked Chief Detective Lt. Larry Lilly who was first at the scene of the crime; he said two of Farrow’s employees found him beaten to death and called 911.

“So they all had contact with the crime scene?” Hebb asked.

Lilly said they were the ones who found the body, but he did not know how close they got to him.

Witnesses told police that Dicken and Farrow had a confrontation, so that marked a starting point for the investigation.

Lilly said during the initial interview with Dicken, he would talk for a while, say he wanted a lawyer, continue talking, then say he pleaded the fifth, then continue talking, even after officers repeated his rights multiple times.

“When a defendant asks for a lawyer, what are you supposed to do?” Hebb asked.

Lilly said, “Leave him alone, which is what we did.”

Detective Cpl. Brian Stump, chief investigator of the case, said he attended the autopsy of Farrow’s body, which was beaten and covered with bruises on his hands, arms, face and head. Cuts were also found on his scalp.

Although the medical examiner’s final report has not yet been submitted, the cause of death was ruled as blunt force trauma to the head; the case was ruled a homicide.

Witnesses said Dicken was last seen wearing a pair of orange overalls and an orange raincoat before Farrow was found. Police were able to recover the clothing approximately 2.5 miles from the crime scene.

Dicken’s DNA was found inside the raincoat and a single drop of Farrow’s blood was found on it as well, according to the State Police lab’s preliminary report.

Stump said it had been raining the night before the clothing was obtained.

After the lab report was received, police conducted a traffic stop near Dicken’s home and apprehended him.

“Would you expect to find his DNA on clothing he wears?” Hebb asked.

“I would not expect to find the victim’s,” Stump replied.

Hebb asked if a crime scene log was kept at the garage to keep track of those in and out of the area, but Stump said a log was not kept.

He said officers searched for a weapon, but came up with nothing conclusive.

The injuries found on Dicken were “consistent with a brutal fight,” Stump said, which included cuts on his hands and scratches all over his body.

“Couldn’t those same injuries be consistent with being in the woods?” Hebb asked, referencing where Dicken’s clothes were found.

“I guess so,” Stump said.

Hebb argued that there was not enough evidence to hold her client. “There is no proof of premeditation, malice or lying in wait.”

Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney Kristen Keller said the multiple blunt force injuries Farrow sustained are “the essence of premeditated murder.”

She added that hiding the clothes he was seen wearing at what would have been the time of the murder shows concealment of evidence, which proves consciousness of guilt.

“DNA is like a fingerprint, stronger than a fingerprint. There is more than enough probable cause.”

Jones ruled that there was enough probable cause to hold Dicken at Southern Regional Jail.

His case will be sent to the next regular term of the grand jury in September unless a special session is held sooner.

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