WSAZ - Local News and Breaking News Coverage for West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky

UPDATE: Son Pleads Guilty to Father's Murder

By: Lauren Denney; Brooks Jarosz; Tim Irr Email
By: Lauren Denney; Brooks Jarosz; Tim Irr Email

UPDATE 4/2/13 @ 4 p.m.
POMEROY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A son has pleaded guilty to killing his father.

James E. Gardner, 40, of Middleport, pleaded guilty to one count of murder and one count of aggravated robbery during a hearing Tuesday morning in Meigs County Common Pleas court.

James W. Gardner, 67, was found dead in his home on Wells Road in Meigs County on November 11. Investigators say he died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Gardner took off after the murder. He was finally captured in Gallia County on December 7.

Immediately following the plea, Gardner was sentenced to an indefinite period of 15 years to life in prison.

Prosecuting Attorney Colleen Williams tells WSAZ.com that Gardner did not say why he killed his father during Tuesday’s hearing. Williams says his attorney made a statement in court that Gardner would like to trade places with his father.

Gardner was originally indicted on one count of aggravated murder and three counts of aggravated robbery.

Prosecutors said the robbery charges were for the theft of his father’s truck, four-wheeler and credit cards.



UPDATE 12/21/12 @ 4 p.m.
POMEROY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The son charged with the murder of his father was back in court Friday for his arraignment on murder and aggravated robbery charges.

James W. Gardner, 67, was found dead in his home in on Wells Road in Meigs County on November 11. Investigators say he died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Prosecutors say James E. Gardner, 40, of Middleport, killed his father and then ran. He was finally captured in Gallia County on December 7.

A Meigs County Grand Jury indicted James E. on charges earlier this week.

Prosecutors say the robbery charges are for the theft of his father’s truck, his four- wheeler and his dad's credit cards.

During Friday’s arraignment, a public defender was appointed for Gardener. His bond was set at $900,000.

Gardner will be back in court on February 25. His trial is set for March 5.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 12/20/12 @ 2:30 p.m.
POMEROY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A Meigs County Grand Jury has indicted James E. Gardner for the murder of his father.

Prosecutor Colleen Williams says Gardner, 40, of Middleport, was charged with one count of aggravated murder and three counts of aggravated robbery. The grand jury returned the indictment on Tuesday.

James W. Gardner, 67, was found dead in his home in on Wells Road in Meigs County on November 11. Investigators say he died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Williams says the robbery charges are for the theft of his father’s truck, his four wheeler, and his dad's credit cards.

Gardner will be arraigned on the grand jury indictment on Friday.

James E. Gardner had been on the run following the murder until he was arrested in Gallia County on December 7. He was originally considered a person of interest in the murder, but officially charged a week after being caught.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 12/13/12 @ 3:30 p.m.
POMEROY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The man considered a person of interest in connection with the death of his father has now been charged with his murder.

Meigs County Prosecutor Colleen Williams says the murder charge against James E. Gardner, 40, of Middleport was filed by the Ohio BCI on Thursday.

James W. Gardner, 67, was found murdered in his home in Meigs County on November 11.

James E. Gardner, the son, had been on the run until he was captured in Gallia County last Friday.

A warrant for Gardner’s arrest on a theft charge was issued shortly after his father’s body was found.

Gardner was arraigned on the murder charge Thursday morning. He is being held in lieu of a $500,000 bond. Probable cause was found to send the theft charge to a grand jury.

Gardner will be back in court on December 20.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 12/11/12
POMEROY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The man considered a person of interest in connection with the death of his father was arraigned on a theft charge Monday in Meigs County Municipal Court.

James E. Gardner, 40, of Middleport, was captured in Gallia County on Friday. He had been on the run since his father, James W. Gardner, was found murdered in his home in Meigs County on November 11.

Investigators in Meigs County say Gardner's father died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Hours after his father’s body was found, James E. Gardner was named a person of interest in the murder.

Investigators say he stole his father's truck and an ATV that was in the bed of the truck.

James E. Gardner was returned to Meigs County several hours after his arrest Friday. He was in court Monday for the theft of the truck. During the hearing his bond was set at $100,000. His preliminary hearing is set for Thursday.

At this time, no one has been charged with the murder. The Meigs County Sheriff and BCI are handling the investigation.

Charges are pending in Gallia County.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 12/7/12 @ 12:55 p.m.
GALLIA COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- We are learning more about the capture of a man who has been on the run since his father's murder.

James E. Gardner was caught today in Gallia County.

He has been on the run since last month when his father, James W. Gardner, was found dead in his Meigs County home. Investigators say he died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Deputies have been searching for James E. for two weeks now in Gallia County.

Friday morning, they got a call that he was possibly in the area of Blessing Road in Gallipolis.

A resident told deputies that he walked outside and heard something in his camper. When he opened the door to the camper, he says James E. Gardner was sitting inside.

The homeowner says he recognized Gardner after seeing pictures of him and told him to leave. He says Gardner apologized and walked into the woods.

Pop cans and potato chip bags were found in the camper.

Deputies started searching the area for Gardner and found a yellow 4-wheeler at an old trailer on White Cemetery Road.

Two deputies identified themselves and asked for whoever was inside to come out with their hands up.

They say Gardner came outside and said, "Don't shoot me."

Gardner had a pocket knife on him, but was not armed otherwise. He was taken into custody without incident.

The Meigs County Sheriff tells WSAZ.com that BCI agents are headed to Gallia County to interview Gardner about the murder.

Investigators are still working out what he will be charged with in Gallia County.

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



UPDATE 12/7/12 @ 11:15 a.m.
GALLIA COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The man considered a person of interest in connection with the death of his father has been captured in Gallia County, Ohio.

The search for James E. Gardner has been ongoing since his father. James W. Gardner was found murdered in his home in Meigs County on November 11.

Friday morning, Gardner was spotted on Blessing Road in Gallia County, Ohio. According to deputies, he had been staying in a camper next to a residence. Deputies say Gardner took off after being spotted.

Shortly after 11 a.m., Gardner was found in an old camping trailer in a wooded area about three miles from where he was first spotted earlier Friday. That is where he was arrested.

He was then take to the Gallia County Sheriff's Office

Investigators in Meigs County say Gardner's father died from blunt force trauma to the head.

They named James E. Gardner, a person of interest in the murder.

They also issued a warrant for the son for stealing his father's truck and a ATV that was in the bed of the truck.

Earlier this month, the stolen truck was recovered in Gallia County. The Gallia County Sheriff's Office, along with the Ohio Highway Patrol searched the Crown City and Eureka areas along Route 7 after a tip that James E. was in the area.

Investigators found a motorcycle in a barn that they believe Gardner had been using as transportation. They also arrested Lyndon M. Montgomery, 51, of Crown City, for providing transportation and shelter to James E. Gardner.

We have a crew at the scene.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 12/1/12 @ 11:15 a.m.
GALLIA COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- New developments in the search for a man wanted as a person of interest in connection with his father's murder.

The Gallia County Sheriff's Department has found a truck that was stolen from James W. Gardner's Meigs County home following his murder.

Investigators in Meigs County say he died from blunt force trauma to the head. They have named his son, James E. Gardner, a person of interest in the murder. They have also issued a warrant for the younger Gardner for stealing his father's truck and a ATV that was in the bed of the truck.

The Gallia County Sheriff's Office, along with the Ohio Highway Patrol have been searching the Crown City and Eureka areas along Route 7 all week, after a tip that James E. was in the area.

They found a motorcycle in a barn that they believe he had been using as transportation.

They also arrested Lyndon M. Montgomery, 51, of Crown City, for providing transportation and shelter to James E. Gardner.

Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning tells WSAZ.com that they found the truck that was stolen from the elder Gardner's home. It was found in the Eureka area. Ohio BCI has come to town to process the truck for evidence.

The ATV that was in the back of the truck is no longer there.

Browning tells WSAZ.com they believe James E. is using an ATV to get around. One was reported stolen in the Crown City/Eureka area.

He warns residents in the area to lock up ATVs if you have them and also keep keys out of parked vehicles, because James E. may be looking for a new mode of transportation.

Investigators continue to patrol the area, looking for Gardner.

If you have any information on his whereabouts, or see him, call 911.

Sheriff Browning says if anyone is caught helping Gardner, they will be arrested and charged.

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



UPDATE 11/30/12 @ 3 p.m.
GALLIA COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- As the search continues for the son of a man killed in Meigs County last month, an arrest has been made in the case.

The Meigs County Sheriff says Lyndon M. Montgomery, 51, of Crown City, Ohio, has been providing transportation and shelter to James E. Gardner.

Montgomery was arrested Friday and charged with obstructing official business.

James W. Gardner was found beaten to death at his home in Meigs County earlier this month. Gardner's son, James E. Gardner, is considered a person of interest in the case. He is also accused of stealing his father's truck.

On Thursday, several people in the Crown City area of the county say they spotted a person fitting the son’s description near their home.

One of those people was Montgomery, who told WSAZ.com in an interview that he had a run-in with James E. Gardner.

"He come up here this morning and walked up on the porch and I was in there on the couch and he just came on in," Montgomery told WSAZ.com. "It makes me real nervous, someone like that and winter time coming on, and he's gonna get desperate. He's going to have to get in somewhere and he's going to end up taking someone hostage."

Gallia County Sheriff Deputies and BCI Agents arrested Montgomery.

Sheriff Joe Browning says that anyone helping or assisting Gardner will be charged in the case.

BCI agents will be consulting with Gallia County Prosecutor Jeff Adkins for further charges against Montgomery.

Crews continue to search the area between Crown City and Eureka, Ohio along Route 7. If you have any information that might help, give police a call.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 11/29/12 @ 10:32 p.m.
GALLIA COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Deputies and state police in Gallia County combed the woods in the Crown City area today, looking for a person of interest in a murder case.

James W. Gardner was found beaten to death at his home in Meigs County earlier this month. Gardner's son -- James E. Gardner -- is accused of stealing his father's truck.

The case got hot today after several neighbors spotted a someone they described as a suspicious man.

Kimberly Caldwell is one of those neighbors, and she's pretty nervous. She spotted a man -- close to her home in Gallia County -- she believes fits the description of someone police would desperately like to speak with regarding a murder. Nightfall will only make things worse for Kimberly.

"I don't want to sleep if they don't find him," Caldwell told WSAZ.COM. "They know he's in this area so I think they should stay here until they do find him."

She's not alone in her suspicions, and all the talk's captured the attention of deputies and the state highway patrol, who think they may be on the trail of James E. Gardner. He's wanted for questioning in connection with his father's death.

Mr. Gardner died from blunt force trauma. His son was last seen crossing the Silver Memorial Bridge into West Virginia, in his father's stolen truck.

"We did have a witness that basically matched a photo ID with a person there's a warrant on," said Sheriff Joe Browning. "We're thinking it's the same person."

Deputies and State Police are using K9 units and an airplane to search the surrounding woods. Lyndon Montgomery didn't have to search. He says he had a run in with the man in question.

"He come up here this morning and walked up on the porch and I was in there on the couch and he just came on in," Montgomery told us. "It makes me real nervous, someone like that and winter time coming on, and he's gonna get desperate. He's going to have to get in somewhere and he's going to end up taking someone hostage."

The search was in the woods between Crown City and Eureka, Ohio along Route 7. If you have any info that might help, give police a call.

UPDATE 11/29/12 @ 5:25 p.m.
GALLIA COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The search for a person of interest in a Meigs County murder case has residents in Gallia County on high alert.

The Gallia County Sheriff's Office and Ohio Highway Patrol were out searching for James E. Gardner Thursday along Route 7 between Crown City and Eureka.

Gardner is a person of interest in the death of his father, James W. Gardner, who was found dead in his Meigs County home earlier this month. He died from blunt force trauma to the head.

A warrant has been issued for James E. Gardner for the theft of his father's truck and 4-wheeler that was in the bed of the truck.

Thursday, crews were on foot with K-9s and in the air with a plane searching for Gardner.

Neighbors along Bladen Road say they have seen someone matching Gardner's description in the area lately.

It all came to head Thursday when a neighbor said he saw a suspicious person in a barn. The suspicious person ran into the woods, and a stolen motorcycle was found in the barn.

Investigators believe that the man seen was Gardner.

Crews are still out searching the area for Gardner and Thursday evening searched a home in the area, but they were unable to locate him.

If you have any information on his whereabouts, call 911.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY
GALLIA COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Deputies and State Police are combing the woods for a man they think is a wanted felon.

Gallia County and Ohio Highway Patrol are searching the woods between Crown City and Eureka, Ohio along Route 7 for a possible felon, according to Gallia Sheriff Joe Browning.

A suspicious person was seen leaving a barn behind a residence on Rt. 7 and when the owner called police the person took off into the woods. When police arrived, they found a stolen motorcycle that the suspect had apparently hid in the barn.

Sheriff Browning says they have been receiving reports over the last few days of a suspicious person in the area and he says the public should take caution if they live in this area.

Officials have not confirmed the identity of the man they are looking for but they have shown pictures to witnesses.

"We did have a witness that basically matched a photo ID with a person that there is a warrant on and we're thinking it maybe the same person," Browning said.

Deputies and State Police are using K-9 units and an airplane to search the surrounding woods.

Sheriff Browning says if residents do see a suspicious person that they should call local authorities immediately.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 11/15/12 @ 11 a.m.
MEIGS COUNTY, Ohio. (WSAZ) -- Investigators tell WSAZ.com they have no new leads on the whereabouts of the son of a man found dead in his home on Sunday.

Meigs County Sheriff Robert Beegle says 67-year-old James W. Gardner died from blunt force trauma.

Deputies found his body about 7 p.m. Sunday in his home on Paulins Hill Road, also known as Wells Road.

His son, 40-year-old James E. Gardner remains of person of interest in the death.

The son was last seen about 3:30 Sunday afternoon driving his father's 2001 dark blue Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 across the Silver Memorial Bridge into West Virginia.

Sheriff Beegle tells WSAZ.com that warrant has now been issued for the son in the theft of his father’s truck.

Beegle also says the son has an outstanding warrant from Jackson County, Ohio for the alleged theft diesel fuel from a truck stop back in June.

Keep clicking WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 11/12/12 @ 6:30 p.m.
MEIGS COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Tragedy along a sleepy country road in rural Meigs County continues to haunt a community.

“Really good neighbor,” James Gibbs said. “Good guy. Do anything for you, you know. We'll miss him.”

James Gibbs is talking about his neighbor, 67-year-old Jim Gardner. When Gibbs came home Sunday night, he says it was like a scene from a movie.

“By then the ambulance was pulling in and the neighbors were all there and the whole nine yards,” Gibbs said.

Just a few moments earlier, Jim Gardner's family had made a gruesome discovery.

“They could see him in there on the floor,” Meigs County Sheriff Robert Beegle said. “They had a light. So that's when they called.”

Gibbs and his family had a hard time making sense of it all.

“What do you really think, you know? So much going on right then we didn't know whether it was the father the son or who killed one or the other,” Gibbs said.

In the end, investigators found that the body was Jim Gardner's -- dead after taking a serious blow to the head. Jim's truck, his four-wheeler and his 40-year-old son, James E. Gardner, were all missing. That's how James E. Gardner became a person of interest in his father's death.

“Because he's not there, and the truck is gone,” Beegle said.

Gibbs says he wasn't surprised when James E. Gardner was named in the case. But he is worried about where he is now.

“You know ... What's next ... What's going to happen?” Gibbs said. “Where's he going to be?”

The sheriff says it's a waiting game.

“It's really hard,” Beegle said. “You've gotta get someone who will finally squeal on him.”

After several run-ins with James E. Gardner in the past, Gibbs is worried about his family's safety.

“If there's a list, I'm on it,” Gibbs said. “So I'm hoping it ends pretty quick.”



UPDATE 11/12/12 @ Noon
MEIGS COUNTY, Ohio. (WSAZ) -- Investigators continue to look for the son of a man found dead at his home in Meigs County on Sunday.

Meigs County Sheriff Robert Beegle says the victim is 67-year-old James W. Gardner.

Sheriff Beegle says he died as the result of blunt force trauma.

Beegle tells WSAZ.com that deputies discovered the body inside his home in the 36000-block of Paulins Hill Road, also known as Wells Road, about 7 p.m. Sunday.

Investigators say Gardner’s son, 40-year-old James E. Gardner, is a person of interest in the death.

The Sheriff says the son lived at the house with his father.

Gardner was last seen driving his father's 2001 dark blue Dodge Ram 2500 4x4. The truck has Ohio license plate FNC8396. There was a red 4-wheeler in the bed of the truck.

James E. Gardner is 6-feet tall, 175 pounds, with blonde hair and green eyes.

Sheriff Beegle says the truck was reportedly seen crossing the Silver Memorial Bridge into West Virginia about 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

The Ohio BCI is handling the investigation.

Beegle says the son has an outstanding warrant out of Jackson County, Ohio for the alleged theft of 130 gallons of diesel fuel from a truck stop back in June.

Keep clicking WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 11/12/12 @ 9:30 a.m.
MEIGS COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The investigation in the death of a Meigs County man continues, but now investigators say they have a person of interest in the death.

Meigs County Sheriff Robert Beegle tells WSAZ.com that deputies discovered a man dead inside a home on Paulins Hill Road, also known as Wells Road, about 7 p.m. Sunday.

Sheriff Beegle is not releasing the name of the man at this time. He is also not releasing a cause of death.

Beegle, along with Prosecuting Attorney Colleen Williams, says the person of interest is 40-year-old James E. Gardner.

Gardner was last seen driving the victim’s 2001 dark blue Dodge Ram 2500 4x4. The truck has Ohio license plate FNC8396.

Gardner is 6 feet tall, 175 pounds with blonde hair and green eyes.

Sheriff Beegle says the truck was reportedly seen crossing the Silver Memorial Bridge into West Virginia about 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

Keep clicking WSAZ.com for more on this developing story.



ORIGINAL STORY 11/11/12 @ 11:22 p.m.
MEIGS COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A man was found dead in a home and police are left looking for the suspect.

Meigs County Sheriff Robert Beegle tells WSAZ.com that deputies discovered a man dead inside a home off Paulins Hill Road about 7 p.m. Sunday. That home sits on Wells Road.

Deputies aren't exactly sure how he died. Investigators with BCI are headed to the scene.

Sheriff Beegle says they don't have a good description of the suspect, however, the truck he was driving was seen crossing the Silver Memorial Bridge on Route 35 about 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Deputies suspect he is now in West Virginia.

Keep clicking WSAZ.com for more on this developing story.


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
WSAZ NewsChannel 3 645 Fifth Avenue Huntington, WV 25701 304-697-4780 WSAZ Charleston 111 Columbia Avenue Charleston, WV 25302 304-344-3521
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 178755831