UPDATE: Wayne County Murder Suspect Returns to Jail

By: WSAZ News Staff; Andrew Colegrove, Brad Myers Email
By: WSAZ News Staff; Andrew Colegrove, Brad Myers Email
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UPDATE 6/2/14 @ 11:40 a.m.
WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A Fort Gay man charged with murdering his neighbor is back in jail after violating terms of his home confinement.

Ronnie Gunther, 56, was indicted in March for the shooting death of 55-year-old William Jennings Ward.

The shooting happened November 6, on Yellow Brick Road in the Glenhayes area of Wayne County

State Police say the shooting followed an argument over a dog.

A grand jury indicted Gunther back in March. His trial is set for September.

Prosecutor Tom Plymale tells WSAZ.com that Gunter was arrested Sunday for possession of alcohol, which is a violation of his home confinement.

During a hearing Monday, Plymale says a judge revoked his bond. He is now back in the Western Regional Jail until his trial.



UPDATE 11/12/13 @ 1:57 p.m.
WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A grand jury will now hear the case of a man charged with murdering his neighbor. A shooting that State Police say followed an argument over a dog.

Ronnie Gunther, 56, of Fort Gay, was arrested after investigators say he admitted to shooting his neighbor, 55-year-old William Jennings Ward.

The shooting happened on Wednesday, November 6, on Yellow Brick Road in the Glenhayes area of Wayne County.

A witness to the shooting and a West Virginia State Trooper testified Tuesday during Gunther’s preliminary hearing in Wayne County Magistrate Court.

James Bartrum, who witnessed the shooting, testified that the men got into a fight over the dog and Gunther got agitated. "I saw flash, flash, flash and Jennings started to hit the ground and I turned around and ran grabbed a phone and yelled to my father and Rich that Ronnie just shot Jennings," Bartrum said.

Trooper J.P. Dick testified that Ward was shot four times, once in the chest, once in the side and in the back. The shot to the chest was a contact shot, meaning the gun was pressed against the body.

Trooper Dick also testified that when they got on scene, Gunther told them Ward got what he deserved. He told them that, "Sometimes people just need to be taxed and he said we couldn't do it legally so he had to do it."

Investigators say a .22 caliber handgun was used in the shooting, but they have not been able to find the weapon. WVSP cadets were on scene one day last week searching for the gun.

Wayne County Prosecutor Tom Plymale says it's difficult to understand cases like this. "It seems like such a trivial matter to lead to someone's death and that's always distressing when you have to deal with the tragic consequences of something like that," Plymale said.

Ward's family members declined speaking with our crews at this time.

A judge found enough evidence to send the case to the grand jury. It will be presented when they meet in March 2014.

Gunther is being held without bond in the Western Regional Jail.



UPDATE 11/8/13 @ 5:30 p.m.
WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- West Virginia State Police were back on the scene of a murder Friday morning. Investigators say Wednesday night, Ronnie Lee Gunther shot and killed his neighbor, William Jennings Ward. But it's why that has many shaking their head in disbelief.

"To be honest with you at this point in my career, nothing surprises me," West Virginia State Police Sgt. Robert Perry said.

State Police believe Gunther got into an argument with Ward and accused him of hurting his dog.

"The suspect had a pet dog that had been attacked at some point in the past," Perry said. "He was confronting the victim in regards to that. It's kind of a petty reason. Things get out of control, things get heated, and bad things happen."

Friday, investigators along with State Police cadets executed a search warrant at Gunther's home. They were looking for the gun used in the murder.

"It's a key piece of evidence in the crime itself and the investigation as far as the prosecution for the court system," Perry said.

But despite hours of searching, State Police were not able to locate the weapon.

"We don't absolutely have to have it for the prosecution. We have testimony from witnesses and things like that that we can go with," Perry said.



UPDATE 11/8/13 @ 10:10 a.m.
WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- State Police say an argument between neighbors that ended up turning deadly started over a dog.

Ronnie Gunther, 56, of Fort Gay was arrested Wednesday night after investigators say he admitted to shooting his neighbor, 55-year-old William Jennings Ward.

Ward died at the scene.

The shooting happened on Yellow Brick Road in the Glenhayes area of Wayne County around 8 p.m.

State Police tell WSAZ.com that the argument was over Gunther's dog.

Investigators say Gunther thought that Ward's dog had mauled his dog more than a year ago and Gunther was still angry about the incident.

Gunther is charged with murder and is being held in the Western Regional Jail without bond.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 11/7/13 @ 11:40 a.m.
WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A man who State Police say admitted to shooting his neighbor is being held in jail without bond.

The deadly shooting happened just before 8 p.m. Wednesday at a home on Yellow Brick Road in the Glenhayes area of Wayne County. That is just south of Fort Gay.

West Virginia State Police say Ronnie Gunther, 56, of Fort Gay, shot William Jennings Ward, 55, multiple times in the driveway of Ward's home during an argument.

Troopers say following the shooting Gunther walked back to his home, where he was arrested.

According to the criminal complaint, when troopers got on scene, Gunther admitted that he had shot Jennings Ward.

They found Ward at his home with multiple gunshot wounds. He was already deceased.

They have not been able to determine, at this time, what the men were arguing about.

Gunther is charged with first degree murder.

He was arraigned on the charge Thursday morning in Wayne County Magistrate Court.

No bond was set.

Gunther is being held in the Western Regional Jail.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 11/7/13 @ 1:38 a.m.
WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- One neighbor is dead and another neighbor under arrest, charged with his murder.

The deadly shooting happened just before 8 p.m. Wednesday at a home on Yellow Brick Road in the Glenhayes area of Wayne County. This is just south of Fort Gay.

West Virginia State Police say Ronnie Gunther, 56, of Fort Gay, shot William Ward multiple times in the driveway of Ward's home. Ward, 55, died at the scene.

Troopers say following the shooting Gunther walked back to his home where he was arrested.

Sgt. E.A. Blankenship says Gunther and Ward were arguing outside Ward's home, when Gunther walked back to his house a couple hundred yards away, got his gun, and walked back and shot Ward.

“We actually don't have a true, straight story yet as to what's going on,” Blankenship said. “Of course the investigation is still ongoing, but there seems to be a standing dispute between the two of them."

Jimmie Messer is a neighbor of the two men, and says he’s been friends with Ward since high school.

"I called my brother-in-law and said 'what's going on over there,'” Messer said. “He said '(Ward) was just killed.' I can't believe this. I came over here, and I see (Ward) lying in the driveway."

Gunther is in the Western Regional Jail.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY 11/6/13 @ 9 p.m.
WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A person has been shot Wednesday night at a home off U.S. 52 near Tolsia High School, Wayne County 911 dispatchers say.

It was reported just after 8 p.m. Wednesday.

West Virginia State Police troopers and Wayne County Sheriff's deputies are at the scene.

One person is reported to be in custody.

We also have a crew headed to the scene.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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