The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 15, 2013

First degree murder suspect denied bond

By Wendy Holdren
Register-Herald Reporter

— Raleigh County Circuit Judge Robert A. Burnside denied a motion for bond Thursday for a 24-year-old man suspected of first degree murder.

Jeremy Ray Edgell, of Beckley, was arrested Dec. 18 for the stabbing death of John Lofton Lilly II, 57, also of Beckley.

Beckley Police responded to the scene at approximately 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17 to find Lilly had suffered multiple stab wounds.

Edgell and Lilly had been in a heated verbal argument, according to police, when Lilly was stabbed.

Lilly was transported to Raleigh General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Edgell waived his preliminary hearing Dec. 27 before Raleigh County Magistrate Greg Tanner.

During the bond hearing Thursday, Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney Kristen Keller said the state greatly opposed bond.

Keller presented evidence of Edgell’s prior convictions and said he had violated all conditions of his probation for previous charges.

Among previous incidents, Edgell pleaded guilty to battery in a stabbing incident in Monongalia County with a female in October 2011.

Keller noted that Edgell had been drinking beer prior to the Dec. 17 stabbing incident and Lilly had called Edgell a vulgar name.

When Sgt. David Allard asked Edgell why he didn’t turn himself into the police, he responded in his statement, “I didn’t have that courage.”

Keller said there is a “near certainty” that Edgell would flee if he were given bond, because he fled the scene in this case, as well as in the Monongalia County incident.

Defense attorney Matthew Victor argued that he would not flee because, although his ties to Beckley are not strong, he does have a place to stay with friends.

Victor also argued that Edgell was acting in self-defense during the stabbing, against Lilly, whom he described as a “psychotic, highly intoxicated Navy SEAL.”

This case will be presented to the May grand jury.

— E-mail: wholdren@register-herald.com