NEW INFO: Murder Charges Dropped in Deadly Gas Station Shooting

By: Jennifer Rizzi, Kristen Schneider, Andrew Colegrove Email
By: Jennifer Rizzi, Kristen Schneider, Andrew Colegrove Email

UPDATE 8/15/12 @ 10 p.m.
WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Murder charges have been dropped against the suspect in a deadly gas station shooting.

Andrew Burgess, 25, of Barboursville, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder Sunday. West Virginia State Police say Burgess shot Thomas Epperly, 40, of Huntington, at the Rich Oil gas station along Waverly Road Saturday night.

In a preliminary hearing Wednesday, Wayne County Magistrate Randy Wiles tells no probable cause was found, so charges against Burgess were dismissed.

At Burgess's preliminary hearing, Epperly’s girlfriend Angela McCoy couldn't contain her emotions as she described what she saw Saturday night.

She says when they pulled into the parking lot, he confronted a man.

"Tom got out of the vehicle. He hit one of the men. They started fighting,” she said.

Witnesses told State Police Burgess saw the fight and intervened.

State Police say at that point, Epperly turned his aggression toward Burgess.

That's when Burgess pulled out a handgun.

Burgess told them after he pulled his gun, Epperly pulled out a knife. State Police say they found a knife under Epperly's body.

State Police say the evidence shows that Epperly made multiple attempts to stab Burgess, and Burgess made repeated warnings for Epperly to stop.

"I jumped out of the car,” McCoy said, “and I heard Tom say ‘Shoot me,’ and then he shot him, and he fell."

Michael Thacker was at the Rich station Saturday night. He says he saw Epperly being aggressive with Burgess, but he did not see Epperly holding a knife.

All of the chaos and confusion, along with Burgess’s claim of self defense may have played a role in the judge’s decision to drop the charges. Now the case will likely be examined by a grand jury.

UPDATE 8/12/2012 @ 9:45 p.m.
WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- State police say the suspect in a deadly shooting is claiming self-defense.

Andrew Burgess, 25, of Barboursville, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Police say he shot Thomas Epperly, 40, of Huntington, at the Rich Oil gas station on Waverly Road Saturday night.

Police say the two men were strangers and met in the gas station parking lot shortly before 11:45 p.m. when they got into a physical fight.

Burgess then pulled a gun on Epperly and shot him three times in the chest, according to police. Burgess told state troopers he did it out of self defense.

"There was a knife recovered on the scene... we're currently investigating what part it played," said Trooper Willis of the West Virginia State Police.

Trooper Willis says Epperly's girlfriend was with him at the time and watched the entire thing.

"She was very upset... obviously in shock and panicked," said Willis.

Police say Burgess came to the gas station on a motorcycle and was with two others who were also on bikes. They say those two witnesses are corroborating with his self-defense claim.

Investigators aren't exactly sure how the fight started or where each of the men had been before. But they say it's rare to see a fight between strangers get that serious.

Keep clicking on for the latest information.

WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A man is dead after being shot at a gas station in Wayne County.

West Virginia State Police tell a fight broke out between two men about 11:45 p.m. Saturday at a gas station along Waverly Road in Huntington.

Troopers say during the fight, one of the men pulled out a gun and  
shot the other.

The victim was taken to the hospital but did not survive.

Troopers say a suspect has been taken into custody.

No word on what charges the suspect will face and no names have been released.

We have a crew headed to the scene.

Keep clicking on for the latest information.

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