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UPDATE: Jury Finds Charleston Teen Not Guilty in Double Murder Trial

By: Brooks Jarosz, WSAZ News Staff Email
By: Brooks Jarosz, WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 3/30/12 @ 10:30 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- After just hours of deliberations, a jury found a Charleston teenager not guilty in a double murder case in Charleston.

James Daughtery, 16, was arrested more than two years ago in connection with the killings of Bruce Duling and Carrie Pontier in Kanawha City. The victims were found shot to death in the back of a car along Chesterfield Avenue. The car was still running, and it's back-up (reverse) lights were on.

The trial started Monday and wrapped up Thursday afternoon.

Prosecutors argue Daughtery shot and killed the two victims after trying to sell fake crack. Prosecutors claim Duling knew it was fake and threatened to kill Daughtery if he didn't give them back their money.

"The jury heard all the evidence in this case, and they made their decision. I disagree with it, but I respect it," Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants said.

The defense argued there's no link to put Daughtery at the scene of the crime.

"His whole case was about lies, half-truths and the failure to investigate," attorney David Pence said.

Pence says Charleston police did not properly consider other suspects, relying on people who may have been lying about evidence to benefit themselves.

He also points out there were no eyewitnesses or any evidence directly linking Daughtery to the murder scene.

In the end, Daughtery was found not guilty, after about five hours of deliberations, on both murder charges. Daughtery didn't show much emotion as the verdict was read, but as soon as the judge was finished he hugged his attorney.

Pence says Daughtery hopes to attend school now that he's free.



UPDATE 3/27/12 @ 7:02 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A trial is well underway for a teenager accused of a double murder during a suspected drug deal gone wrong.

James Daughtery, 16, was arrested more than two years ago in the killings of Bruce Duling and Carrie Pontier in Kanawha City.

The victims were found shot to death in the back of a car along Chesterfield Avenue. The car was still running, and its back-up (reverse) lights were on.

The case has been lingering in the court system until a Circuit Court judge finally ruled how Daughtery would be tried. Daughtery was elevated to adult status, and jurors finally heard details of what may have gone down.

Daughtery was silent as he heard and saw his former friend, Mark Johnson, testify against him in court.

"He was like, 'I done it, I earned my stripes.' Mark Johnson said. "He said he shot Bruce in his head and he said he saw he shot Bruce in the head because he slumped over and then he shot Bruce again."

Prosecutors argue Daughtery shot and killed the two victims after trying to sell fake crack. Prosecutors claim Dueling knew it was fake and threatened to kill Daughtery if he didn't give them their money back.

"He [Daughtery] tells his friend, he wraps a red bandana around his hand and gets into the back seat, he shoots them both," Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants said. "And then he takes the red bandana off -- of course he puts it on there to prevent any GSR -- gunshot residue."

However, the defense tried to discredit that key witness, pointing out Johnson is a convicted felon and has a drug problem of his own. Johnson is in jail for malicious wounding and associated gun crimes.

"He was on pills, we know that he is a liar, he's a drug abuser and he doesn't follow the rules," Defense Attorney David Pence said. "There are no eyewitnesses in this case, no one saw James do anything -- of all the items collected by the state, of all the items collected at the crime scene, no fingerprints link James to this incident."

Lawyers argued there's no link to put Daughtery at the scene of the crime.

Now, justice is left in the hands of the jury. Jurors will have to decipher the crime scene photos, cell phone calls and ultimately if Daughtery pulled the trigger.

The trial will continue this week. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 12/17/11 @ 6:12 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A teenager charged in a double murder from nearly two years ago is still awaiting trial and was denied bond, despite the defense team's efforts to have the case dismissed.

James Daughtery was just 14-year-old when police say he gunned down and killed two people during a drug deal in February 2010.

Bruce Dueling and Carrie Pontier were murdered when they were sitting in a car along Chesterfield Avenue in Kanawha City.

All this time later, Daughtery is still awaiting trial because of his age.

For one of the victim's family, they're having trouble healing knowing no one has ever been convicted of the crime.

Carrie Pontier's family says Christmas was her favorite holiday and time of year.

"She'd probably be baking cookies at my grandparents right now or going out Christmas shopping and doing everything for everybody," Pontier's sister Mandy Resvaloso said.

But this year, all that's left is a drawer full of memories and the constant struggle knowing her sister was murdered.

"There's just a lot of hatred, a lot of hurt," Resvaloso said. "Forgiveness -- I don't have right now."

The legal fight to try Daughtery as an adult held up the case and his lawyers argued Friday it should be dismissed.

"They've held him there for almost two years," Daughtery's lawyer said. "They've violated his constitutional rights to a speedy trial."

"You know he took away her rights when he shot her," Resvaloso said. "You know she didn't have any more rights, neither did the other guy."

The judge never ruled on whether the case would be thrown out but did deny bond, even with the defense's best efforts to prove Daughtery wasn't a threat to the community.

"He has a 3.0, he's very respectful, and aggressive in the classroom," detention center counselor Joan Mann said. "He helps other students."

However, the detention center is where Daughtery will spend this Christmas, while Pontier's family spends the holidays anxiously hoping for a final resolution.

"We just got to play the waiting game even longer and it's kind of you know nerve racking," Resvaloso said. "But at the same time we just want some closure to something."

It's a Christmas wish that lives that have been changed forever, will somehow get back on track.

The murders of Bruce Duling and Carrie Pontier happened in February 2010.

James Daughtery was arrested a few days later.

His case remained in the juvenile court system until October of this year. That's when his case was transferred to adult status.

Daughtery was denied bond on Friday and a judge will soon determine where the case goes from here.

Both sides were asked to prepare reports before a judge will whether or not the case should be dismissed.

Keep clicking WSAZ.com for the updates.



UPDATE: Friday, 12/16/11 @ 11:52 a.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A Kanawha County Circuit Judge has denied bond for a teenager charged in a double murder in Charleston.

James Daughtery, 16, of Charleston, was back in court Friday trying to get bond set so he could get out of jail.

Daughtery was arrested for killing Bruce Duling and Carrie Pontier in February 2010, but it wasn't until October 2011 he was transferred to adult status.

Daughtery was 14 when the murders took place. Duling and Pontier were found shot to death in a car along Chesterfield Avenue in Kanawha City.

During Friday's hearing, the judge denied the bond motion, but told the defense she would reconsider her decision once they filed a "best interest analysis" and prove that Daughtery is not a flight risk.

Also, the defense filed a motion Friday to dismiss the case. Daughtery's lawyer told the judge it has been 22 months and he has not had a trial, but has been in jail. The defense claims it's against his constitutional rights to hold him since he's had no bond and been incarcerated without getting a speedy trial.

Meanwhile, the prosecution says since he has just been transferred to adult status they now have three terms in which a grand jury can indict Daughtery.

Prosecutors argue there's no lack of evidence and have had several hearings. They say it has taken longer since the transfer was not granted by the court right away.

Judge Carrie Webster heard both sides and is expected to make a ruling soon.

We have a crew in the courtroom. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the very latest information.



UPDATE 12/16/11 @ 11:52 a.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A teenager accused of killing two people in Kanawha City is in court trying to get out of jail.

A bond hearing is underway in Kanawha County Circuit Court for James Daughtery.

Daughtery, 18, of Charleston, was arrested for killing Bruce Duling and Carrie Pontier in February 2010, but it wasn't until October 2011 he was transferred to adult status.

Duling and Pontier were found shot to death in a car along Chesterfield Avenue in Kanawha City.

Prosecutors asked for the transfer of Daughtery's status shortly after the crime, but the judge didn't grant that request this year.

We have a crew in the courtroom. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 10/6/11 @ 2:30 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A teenager accused of pulling the trigger in a double shooting will now be prosecuted as an adult.

James Daughtery, 16, of Charleston was arrest for killing Bruce Duling and Carrie Pontier in February 2010.

Duling and Pontier were found shot to death in a car along Chesterfield Avenue in Kanawha City.

Prosecutors asked for the transfer of Daughtery's status shortly after the crime, but the judge didn't grant that request until this week.

"If you commit an adult-like crime you need to be treated like an adult," Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants said. "There needs to be adult consequences."

Investigators say the shootings were all over drugs.

Daughtery's mother told us when her son was arrested that he was innocent.

For the family of one of the victim's having the case move forward is one step closer to helping them heal.

"I just need some closure because I don't know what went on and no one is telling me," Diana Herdon said. "I just need some closure to move forward."

Pontier's mother says she just wants to see justice for her daughter.

"I keep her memory alive," Herndon said. "I pray to that picture every morning."

She says Carrie was involved with drugs but was trying to turn her life around and was always a good person.

Prosecutors say they have evidence linking Daughtery to the scene of the crime.

"There were some tracks and some personal items that were found at the scene," Plants said. "We also have some witnesses that will testify as the events of that night."

Daughtery was charged with first degree murder and is currently in a juvenile detention center in Dunbar.

Now, the case can be presented to the grand jury.

The prosecutor hopes to have Daughtery indicted within 30 to 60 days.

WSAZ.com contacted Judge Carrie Webster's office to find out why Daughtery wasn't transferred to adult status sooner.

Our calls were not returned Thursday afternoon.

Keep clicking WSAZ.com for the latest updates.



UPDATE 2/11/10 @ 2:30 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Charleston Police say a juvenile has been arrested in the case of a double murder earlier this week in Charleston.

He's now facing two charges of murder.

Sergeant Steve Cooper tells WSAZ.com that, "We've worked around the clock for the last several days since the double homicide occurred."

Little information can be released about the case because the suspect is under 18. Sgt. Cooper says he can't comment on motive or the suspects personal history.

The teenager's mother says that her son is not guilty. She tells WSAZ.com that he doesn't have a gun that she knows of. She adds the real killer is still on the run.

Police believe Bruce Edward Duling, 53, of Charleston, and Carrie Dawn Pontier, 33, of Marmet, were shot by the teen. Their bodies were discovered in a car in the 5700 block of Chesterfield Avenue Wednesday morning.

Cooper says the fact that the suspect is so young doesn't come as a shock. "Over the last few years we have had several to numerous cases where the suspect in a serious crime is a juvenile, anymore it's hard to surprise me."

Cooper says in the next few weeks more details could be released, but he wouldn't elaborate.

UPDATE 2/11/10 @ 1:15 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Charleston Police say an arrest has been made in connection with a double murder that happened
Wednesday morning in Kanawha City.

However, they haven't released any more information about the arrest at this time.

WSAZ has a crew working on the story, and we will bring you the latest information as soon as it is available.

Police say Bruce Edward Duling, 53, of Charleston, and Carrie Dawn Pontier, 33, of Marmet, were found dead in a car in the 5700 block of Chesterfield Avenue Wednesday morning.



UPDATE 2/11/10 @ 6 p.m.
Charleston, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Carrie Pontier and Bruce Duling were found dead in a car along Chesterfield Avenue in Kanawha City Wednesday morning. Police say they were shot to death.

Pontier's family says day two has not gotten any easier.

"She was always bubbly, always willing to do anything you ask," cousin Windy Burns said. "She was just a whirlwind of just happiness and energy just love really."

"I just simply miss her because I loved her from the bottom of my heart and it's just Carrie... I've always loved her," grandfather Robert Herndon said.

Her family says she was a happy person but like anyone, she wasn't perfect. Police records show she was facing several criminal charges after an incident that happened in October.

"It's been kind of a life-long struggle for her with some drugs," Herndon said.

Her family says Pontier, who has four children, was overcoming those issues, that near Christmas she was getting back on her own.

This family is remembering this 33 year old as they saw her.

"She was misunderstood a lot of times because she was hyper and was always busy and people didn't understand that," Aunt Linda Herndon said.

"She was a happy person, yeah, she was happy she always liked the music on," Phyllis Herndon, her grandmother, said. "She decorated my house for Christmas."

"She loved her kids with all her heart," Burns said.

Duling, the other person found in the car, also had a criminal background.

This double shooting is still being investigated.



UPDATE 2/11/10 @ 8:45 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Charleston police have released the names of the two people found dead in a car in Kanawha City.

Detectives tell WSAZ.com Bruce Edward Duling, 53, of Charleston, and Carrie Dawn Pontier, 33, of Marmet, were found around 7:00 a.m. Wednesday in the 5700 block of Chesterfield Avenue.

No other details are being released at this time.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the very latest information.



UPDATE 6 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Charleston Police are trying to piece together evidence in a double homicide after a man and woman were found dead in a car Wednesday morning in Kanawha City.

Police say the man and the woman inside the car were found around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, and both have ties to the Charleston area.

Investigators worked throughout Wednesday to try to piece together exactly what happened.

A man was on his way to work when he noticed a car on the side of the road with its reverse lights on. That's when he discovered something even more disturbing.

"It appears they were shot in the vehicle," Sgt. S.A. Cooper said.

The car could have been sitting on Chesterfield Avenue for as many as three hours. The driver was slumped over the wheel and his passenger, a woman, was dead in the passenger seat.

"What we want to do is analyze the crime scene and then come to a conclusion," Cooper said. "There's several possibilities, so I won't rule anything out at this point."

Many questions remained as investigators towed the car with the two bodies still inside to the Charleston Police Department.

"Taking that vehicle to a controlled location where you can concentrate on evidence collection without worries of traffic, elements, things of that nature -- it's best that you can get that evidence indoors which is what we did," Cooper said.

Meanwhile, neighbors are worried and concerned, many not even knowing what had happened.

"My friend came upstairs and told me," Vicki Zangari said. "I don't know, I was a little scared, a little shocked and like I said it's right outside and I've got kids in here. You know the person that did it could have come pounding on the door, you know what I mean? Yeah, it's a little scary."

There are still countless possibilities about exactly what happened and why. A woman who lives along Washington Avenue says she heard five gunshots between 5:30 and 6:30 a.m. Wednesday. She also says this isn't the first time she's heard shots coming from that same area.



UPDATE @ 12:30 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Charleston Police tell WSAZ.com a woman and man were found dead inside a car early Wednesday morning along Chesterfield Avenue in Charleston.

During a news conference, WSAZ.com learned the man was the driver of the car and the woman was a passenger.

We're also told several gunshots were fired during the crime.

Right now, investigators say they are not ruling out anything in the case, but it does not appear to be a murder-suicide.

A resident along Washington Avenue tells WSAZ.com she heard five gunshots between 5:30 and 6:30 a.m. Wednesday. She was awake because she had just received a phone call about a school closing.

The woman says she was just getting back into bed when she heard the gunshots. She also tells WSAZ.com this isn't the first time she's heard gunshots coming from that same area.

Sergeant S. A. Cooper says investigators believe the bodies had been in the car for at least two to three hours before they were spotted.

Due to the weather conditions the car was towed with the two bodies still inside to the Charleston Police Department for processing.

No other information is being released at this time, including whether or not police are looking for a suspect in the case.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the very latest information.



UPDATE @ 10:30 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Charleston Police are expected to have a news conference at 11:30 a.m. to release more information about the investigation.

We will have a crew at the news conference. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the very latest information.



UPDATE @ 8:55 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Charleston Police are investigating what appears to be a double homicide in the 5700 block of Chesterfield Avenue.

Police tell WSAZ.com a man was driving down the street around 7:00 a.m. Wednesday when he noticed a car running with someone slumped over the wheel. When the driver got out to check on the person, he found two people dead inside the car and called 911.

Right now, police are calling this a homicide investigation. However, they haven't found anyone that heard something out of the ordinary this morning.

Due to the weather conditions, police are having the car towed to the police station so it can be processed. In fact, the tow truck just arrived on scene to move the vehicle.

Two neighbors tell WSAZ.com they were out at midnight and around 3:00 a.m. Wednesday morning and the car wasn't there at either time.

No other details are being released at this time, including the sex of the two people.

We have a crew at the scene. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the very latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY 2/10/10
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Charleston police are investigating two deaths in the 5700 block of Chesterfield Avenue.

911 dispatchers tell WSAZ.com two people were found dead in a car around 7:00 a.m. Wednesday.

Right now, police are there investigating.

We have a crew on the scene. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the very latest information.


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