The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


January 30, 2013

Murder investigation continues

The investigation into death of an Oak Hill man is continuing after murder charges were dismissed Tuesday against another man who was arrested last week.

Police found the body of Michael Sheets, 46, in his apartment on East Main Street on Jan. 21 when they responded to a trespassing call.

Jeffery Dale Lafferty, 39, was charged with murder, but Fayette County Prosecutor Carl Harris said Tuesday that charge has been dismissed.

While some reports indicated the dismissal came because of a lack of evidence, Harris said that is not the case. The prosecutor said there is plenty of evidence, but so far no clear cause of death.

Harris said his office is awaiting the toxicology report from the medical examiner’s office, which should illuminate somewhat the circumstances of Sheets’ death.

“It’s not a gunshot or a stabbing. What we have is someone who died and it appears there’s a possibility of a drug situation, but we don’t know that for sure because we haven’t gotten the report back,” Harris said.

“Until we do, it’s really not safe to say that it’s a clear case of this or that.”

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