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NEW INFO: Convicted Murderer Sentenced to Life Without Mercy

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 10/25/13 @ 10:35 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A Huntington man, convicted of murdering an elderly man, is now headed to prison for life without mercy.

Judge Paul Farrell sentenced Edward "Jesse" Dreyfuse Friday morning during a hearing in Cabell County Court.

Last week, a jury found Dreyfuse guilty of 1st degree murder and burglary in the death of Otis Clay Jr.

That jury returned to court Friday, to decide if Dreyfuse should get mercy or no mercy with his life sentence.

Clay’s nephew told the court that Dreyfuse should never get out of prison.

The jury then deliberated about 10 minutes, before reaching the no mercy verdict.

Clay Jr. was beaten with a baseball bat at his Huntington home in April 2012.

Investigators say he died a couple of weeks after the beating from blunt trauma to the head.

He was 66 years old and reportedly had mental disabilities and walked with a cane.



UPDATE 10/18/13 @ 11:50 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A jury in Huntington has found Edward "Jesse" Dreyfuse guilty of killing an elderly man.

It took the jury less than three hours ing to find Dreyfuse guilty on 1st degree murder and burglary charges in the death of Otis Clay Jr.

Clay Jr. was beaten with a baseball bat at his Huntington home in April 2012. Investigators say he died a couple of weeks after the beating from blunt trauma to the head. He was 66 years old and reportedly had mental disabilities and walked with a cane.

We have a crew in the courtroom.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 10/18/13 @ 11:45 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A jury in Huntington has reached a verdict in a deadly beating case.

The jury started deliberations in the case against Edward "Jesse" Dreyfuse about 9 Friday morning. They announced they reached a verdict around 11:40 a.m.

Everyone is still gathering in the courtroom so the verdict can be announced.

Dreyfuse is charged with murder, assault during the commission of a crime, burglary and brandishing in the death of Otis Clay Jr.

Clay Jr. was beaten with a baseball bat at his Huntington home in April 2012. Investigators say he died a couple of weeks after the beating from blunt trauma to the head. He was 66 years old and reportedly had mental disabilities and walked with a cane.

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



UPDATE 10/17/13 @ 4:15 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The prosecution and defense have wrapped up closing statements in a murder trial in Huntington and the case has been handed over to the jury.

The jury in the case against Edward "Jesse" Dreyfuse decided to wait until Friday morning to start deliberations. They were given the case shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday.

He is charged with murder, assault during the commission of a crime, burglary and brandishing in the death of Otis Clay Jr.

Clay Jr. was beaten with a baseball bat at his Huntington home in April 2012. Investigators say he died a couple of weeks after the beating from blunt trauma to the head. He was 66 years old and reportedly had mental disabilities and walked with a cane.

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



UPDATE 10/17/13 @ 2:20 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The prosecution and defense rested Thursday in a murder trial in Huntington.

The trial for Edward "Jesse" Dreyfuse started Tuesday in Huntington.

He is charged with murder, assault during the commission of a crime, burglary and brandishing in the death of Otis Clay Jr.

Clay Jr. was beaten with a baseball bat at his Huntington home in April 2012. Investigators say he died a couple of weeks after the beating from blunt trauma to the head. He was 66-years-old and reportedly had mental disabilities and walked with a cane.

Dreyfuse testified in his own defense Thursday. When he was cross examined by the prosecution, he said he was fighting for his life.

The prosecution also played a six minute 911 call made the day of the beating, and you could hear the caller saying, "There's a lot of blood, blood all over the place."

Closing statements are expected to begin soon, and the case will be handed over to the jury.

We have a crew in the courtroom.

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



UPDATE 10/15/13 @ 4:15 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Opening arguments got underway Tuesday afternoon in a murder trial in Huntington.

Edward "Jesse" Dreyfuse is charged with murder and assault during the commission of a crime, burglary and brandishing.

He is accused of beating 66-year-old Otis Clay Jr. with a baseball bat at Clay's Huntington home in April 2012.

He died from blunt trauma to the head several weeks after the beating.

Clay was considered mentally challenged, had a heart condition and walked with a cane.

Investigators say the incident happened in a dispute over money. They said Dreyfuse went to the residence to confront the drug dealer who cheated him, but only found Clay -- who was completely unaware due to his mental and physical condition.

It took several hours Tuesday morning for a jury to be selected.

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



UPDATE 10/15/13 @ 10:15 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Jury selection is underway in the trial of man charged with the beating death of a mentally challenged man in Huntington last year.

Prosecutors say Edward "Jesse" Dreyfuse beat 66-year-old Otis Clay Jr. with a bat at his home in west Huntington in April 2012. Clay died from his injuries several weeks later.

Clay also had a heart condition and walked with a cane. Dreyfuse was arrested in Parkersburg several weeks after the alleged beating.

Dreyfuse is charged with murder, assault during the commission of a crime, burglary and brandishing. His trial is taking place in Cabell County Circuit Court.

Investigators say the incident happened in a dispute over money. They said Dreyfuse supposedly went to the residence to confront the drug dealer who cheated him, but only found Clay -- who was completely unaware due to his mental and physical condition.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 3/26/13 @ 10:10 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- There has been a last minute postponement in the trial of a man charged with the beating death of a Huntington man last April.

Prosecutors say Edward "Jesse" Dreyfuse beat 66-year-old Otis Clay Jr. with a bat at his home in west Huntington. Clay died from his injuries several weeks later.

Clay was considered mentally handicapped, had a heart condition and walked with a cane.

Investigators say the incident happened in a dispute over money. They said Dreyfuse supposedly went to the residence to confront the drug dealer who cheated him, but only found Clay -- who was completely unaware due to his mental and physical condition.

Dreyfuse was arrested in Parkersburg several weeks after the alleged beating.

Dreyfuse’s trial on murder and burglary charges was supposed to start Tuesday morning in Cabell County Circuit Court -- but at the last minute, it was postponed. Neither the prosecutor nor judge would say why. No new trial date was set.

On Monday, prosecutors withdrew all plea offers to Dreyfuse.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 6/28/12 @ 1:45 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The man arrested and charged with the beating death of a Huntington man in April has been indicted on multiple charges by a Cabell County Grand Jury.

Prosecutors say Edward "Jesse" Dreyfuse beat 66-year-old Otis Clay Jr. with a bat on April 9. Clay died from his injuries several weeks later.

The grand jury indicted Dreyfuse on charges of murder, assault during the commission of a crime, burglary and brandishing.

Clay was considered mentally handicapped, had a heart condition and walked with a cane when he was attacked in his home. Investigators say the incident happened in a dispute over money.

Dreyfuse, who is being held in the Western Regional Jail, will be arraigned on the charges in the next couple of weeks.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 5/16/12 @ 1:45 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The case of a man charged in a beating death is now headed to the grand jury.

Edward "Jesse" Dreyfuse had his preliminary hearing in Cabell County Magistrate Court Wednesday morning.

Dreyfuse in charged with first-degree murder. Police say he beat 66-year-old Otis Clay Jr. with a bat last month in Huntington. Mr. Clay died from his injuries early this month.

Detective Robert Stinnett with the Huntington Police testified during the hearing about what witnesses told him the night of the beating.

A man who says he witnessed the beating also testified at the hearing.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 5/3/12 @ 10:50 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A preliminary hearing has been continued for the man now charged with murder in the beating death of a Huntington man.

66-year-old Otis Clay, Jr. died Tuesday at a Huntington hospital.

Police say that Edward "Jesse" Dreyfuse beat Clay with a baseball bat back on April 9. The alleged attack happened at Clays' house on Washington Ave,

Family members said Clay suffered from a mental handicap, heart condition and walked with a cane before the attack.

Dreyfuse was arrested on April 20 and originally charged with charged with malicious wounding and burglary. On Wednesday, the malicious wounding charge was upgraded to murder.

Huntington Police Detective Robert Stinnett tells WSAZ.com that the medical examiner says Clay died of blunt trauma to the head suffering bleeding to the brain.

Stinnett say final autopsy results will be released in about 6-8 weeks.

Clay had been in a coma and on life support up until several days before his death.

Dreyfuse's preliminary hearing which was supposed to take place Thursday morning in Cabell County Magistrate Court but was continued until May 16.

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

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for updated information.



UPDATE 5/1/12 @ 3:55 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A man severely beaten with a baseball bat last month has died.

Family members tell WSAZ.com that 66-year-old Otis Clay, Jr. died Tuesday at a Huntington hospital.

An autopsy will be performed Wednesday by the State Medical Examiner. Huntington Police will be present at the autopsy.

On April 20, Edward "Jesse" Dreyfuse was arrested and charged with malicious wounding and burglary in connection with his alleged role in the April 9 beating.

That charge is expected to be dropped Wednesday -- to make way for a murder charge.

Dreyfuse was supposed to have a preliminary hearing on those charges on Monday, but the hearing was postponed until Thursday. At Thursday's hearing, prosecutors are expected to push to get the case waived to the grand jury for indictment.

Family members said Clay suffered from a mental handicap, heart condition and walked with a cane before the attack.

Dreyfuse is still in jail on a $405,000 bond. Police say once the murder charge is in place, the bond could be raised even higher.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for updated information.



UPDATE 4/30/12 @ 5:20 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Detectives say it's a near miracle that Otis Clay Jr., a Huntington man who was severely beaten earlier this month with a baseball bat, isn't just surviving -- but improving.

After a manhunt, the beating suspect is now in jail. And as WSAZ.com discovered, there's one man who stepped in as a lifesaving hero.

He felt death all over. That’s what James Marcum says stirred him to action when he came in on his friend Clay being severely beaten with a baseball bat.

Investigators say Marcum went after beating suspect Jesse Dreyfuse.
They say he got his bat and stabbed the bigger, drunken man with a pocket knife.

“They said, 'Don't go over there. He'll kill you, too. He’s crazy,' " Marcum said. "But, I went into the house and he was still beating him when I got there. He broke his arm, his legs, his knees -- all over $30."

Huntington police say they have a solid felony assault case against Dreyfuse.

They say Dreyfuse lashed out at the wrong man after being cheated in a drug deal.

“He was purchasing crack and instead got a chunk of wax, so he lost $30 in the deal," said Huntington Police Detective Rob Stinnett.

So, supposedly Dreyfuse went to the residence to confront the dealer who cheated him, but only found Clay -- who was completely unaware due to his mental and physical condition.

Critical, comatose and recently taken off life support -- the mentally and physically handicapped Clay's medical condition was remarkably upgraded on Monday to stable.

”It's been an amazing story. He surprised the staff at St. Mary's that he has been able to survive and improve somewhat," Stinnett said.

“I feel good, everybody gave up on him -- but God did not," Marcum said.

Corrections officers tell WSAZ.com that Dreyfuse was beaten himself by other inmates when he got to the Western Regional Jail. It was a beating that was considered bad enough to send Dreyfuse to the hospital for several stitches.



UPDATE 4/20/12 @ 6 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The search for a suspect accused of beating a mentally handicapped man is now over.

Police say Edward "Jesse" Dreyfuse beat Otis Clay, Jr. with a baseball bat earlier this month in Huntington.

The search for Dreyfuse expanded across the state and ended early Friday morning in Parkersburg.

It turns out the whole thing ended very peacefully. Dreyfuse was walking down a road just outside of Parkersburg trying to hitch a ride when a passerby recognized him from the news and called police.

“I believe he understood what was going on. He was very compliant and turned around, was handcuffed without any incident,” said Sgt. Jason Allen, Wood County Sheriff’s Department.

With that, a two-day manhunt for Dreyfuse was over. He was arraigned in Wood County court and charged with several crimes -- including malicious wounding and assault. But those could soon be elevated to murder.

“He's not doing too well. They took him off life support and he's brain dead," said Doris Cueva.

Cueva is Otis Clay, Jr.'s sister. She and the rest of her family have been keeping vigil over the 66-year-old in the hospital. That's where he's been in a coma for a week after police say Dreyfuse brutally beat him with an aluminum baseball bat. Clay already suffered from a mental handicap, heart condition and walked with a cane.

“Junior never hurt nobody. He couldn't fight a flea, it was like taking a baby and whipping it,” said Cueva.

That's why news of Dreyfuse's capture comes as a comforting relief.

“I don't know how to describe it. So glad they caught him so he can face justice for what he did,” said Cueva.

Back in the Parkersburg area, deputies and police officers searched for Dreyfuse Thursday night using night vision and unmarked vehicles. They received word from Huntington Police he may head that way to see one of his ex-wives and two children who lived there.

“Everyday the deputies of Wood County do something special for the citizens of Wood County and in this case the citizens of Cabell County,” said Sheriff Jeff Sandy, Wood County Sheriff’s Department.

Dreyfuse is in the North Central Regional Jail in Doddridge County
awaiting extradition back to Cabell County. His bond was set at $405,000.



UPDATE 4/20/12 @ 11:30a.m.
PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Jesse Dreyfuse was arraigned this morning in Wood County Court on charges of: malicious wounding, assault, burglary and brandishing a weapon. Bond was set at $405, 000. He's expected to be transferred to the North Central Regional Jail in Doddridge County later today.


UPDATE 4/20/12 @ 8:55a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Huntington Police report Jesse Dreyfuse has been captured near Parkersburg.

According to Detective Rob Stinnett, Dreyfuse was trying to hitchhike on a road near town when he was spotted. He is in police custody and will be arraigned in Wood County, West Virginia Friday morning.

Dreyfuse was wanted in connection with the brutal beating of Otis Clay Jr., on Monday, April 9. Clay is still in a coma in a Huntington hospital. Family says recent tests show no brain activity and they are considering whether to take him off life support.

Right now, Dreyfuse faces charges for malicious wounding and burglary.

Stay tuned to WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 4/19/12 6 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Jesse Dreyfuse actually has three ex-wives and one of them lives in Huntington. Kristine Davis dated Jesse for two years and was married to him for another two.

“There was an incident where I had to go to the hospital and had suffered a concussion and my eardrum was ruptured,” Davis said.

Even though Davis has been divorced from Jesse Dreyfuse for more than six years, she can recall the turbulent violence of their relationship like it happened yesterday.

“He bit me all over and I had to be treated with antibiotics,” Davis said.

After hearing about the violent beating of Otis Clay Jr.--a 66-year-old man who was mentally handicapped, suffered from a heart condition and walked with a cane, she's not surprised that Jesse is the prime suspect. In fact, she said when they divorced after two years of marriage, the abuse she suffered at his hands led the court system to grant her a lifetime restraining order.

“They said I'm incapacitated as a result of emotional and physical abuse,” Davis said.

“Huntington Police, Cabell County Sheriff’s and the U.S. Marshal’s Service has followed up on leads and checked out about ten places mostly in the west end,” Detective Rob Stinnett, Huntington Police said.

Detective Stinnett has spent the last two days searching a list of places in Huntington. They're hopeful they can catch this man sooner rather than later.

“I don’t want an agitated Jesse Dreyfuse to do something we’ll all regret. I’d rather get him off the streets right away,” Stinnett said.

If you know of Jesse Dreyfuse's whereabouts, police ask you to call the Huntington Police anonymous tipline at 304-696-4444.


UPDATE 4/18/12 @ 6 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A handicapped man brutally beaten with a baseball bat could soon be at the center of a murder investigation.

We first told you about Otis Clay Jr. on Monday. He was in the hospital in a coma from a beating he suffered the week before.

Late this afternoon, after tests showed no brain activity, family members began the difficult discussion on whether to have him taken off life support.

Now, police are searching for the man who they believe could soon be labeled a killer.

“We want to see the person who hurt him and possibly killed him in prison. We don't want to see them walking up and down the streets,” Clay’s sister said.

Those were the words of a grieving sister when we talked to her on Monday. Then, her brother -- known simply as "Junior" -- who is mentally handicapped was in the hospital in a coma after a brutal beating.

“He took the bat and cracked his knee. I heard the crack of the knee and I said, 'Don't do that, don't do that,' ” said Stan Tomsey, an eyewitness and neighbor.

The attack happened more than a week ago at Junior's home along Madison Avenue in West Huntington in front of several witnesses, including Stan.

Now, police are searching for Edward Dreyfuse who is known on the streets as "Jesse."

“He doesn't have much facial hair, maybe a two-day growth. He has a dragon tattoo on his neck and ring tattoo,” said Det. Rob Stinnett with the Huntington Police Department.

He's also 45, bald, wears an earring and has a stocky muscular build. Stinnett is the investigator in charge for Huntington Police. He says Junior was an innocent victim in the wrong place at the wrong time when a very drunk Dreyfuse struck with an aluminum baseball bat.

“He became angry with a young lady who lives at the residence with Mr. Clay possibly over being stiffed $30 in a drug deal gone bad,” Stinnett said.

But, when Jesse went to the house, that young lady wasn't home, and police say Jesse vented his anger on Junior instead.

“That strikes a special nerve with me. Why would someone take out anger like that on someone out of meanness,” Stinnett said.

“We want to see the person responsible for this in prison. We don’t want to see them walking up and down the streets,” Junior’s sister said.

Police say Dreyfuse has a criminal history that includes felonious assault and resisting arrest. Right now, he's wanted for malicious wounding. But the family expects Junior won’t make it much longer. Dreyfuse would then be charged with murder.

Police ask anyone with information to call 911 or the Huntington Police anonymous tipline at 304-696-4444. You can also post information on the Huntington Police Facebook page.



ORIGINAL STORY 4/16/12
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Beaten, nearly to death, in a misunderstanding over $30 -- that's the situation for a man his family says was in his home minding his own business when someone took a baseball bat to him.

Otis Clay Junior is mentally handicapped, had a heart condition and walked with a cane. He was already feeble and frail before someone viciously attacked him, leaving him in a coma fighting for his life.

“They bashed his legs, smashed in the back of his head, broke his fingers,” said Brenda.

Brenda didn't want to show her face or even share her last name. Her brother, Otis Clay Jr., or Junior as he is known, lies in a hospital bed in a coma after someone badly beat him. Now, she's afraid of what his attacker may try to do to her.

“When I walked into the house, I saw blood splashed all over boxes. I think whoever did it to him just wanted to torture him,” Brenda said.

According to a police report, the attack happened about 1 a.m. last Monday at Junior's home at 938 Washington Ave. in West Huntington.

Stan Tomsey and James Marcum were there and witnessed parts of the attack on the 66-year-old frail man.

“He knocked on back door and went to the front door, and poor Junior answered the door. And the next thing I know, he took the bat and cracked his knee. I heard the crack of the knee,” said Stan Tomsey, Junior’s neighbor.

“He grabbed Junior and went down, and I grabbed him, and we got the bat from him. And I went to Junior and thought he was dead, but he was still talking,” said James Marcum, Junior’s neighbor.

Brenda thinks Junior’s girlfriend was the intended target. She is known as Blondie.

“She was a prostitute, did drugs and was in jail. She just got out. He liked her, and she went to stay with him and she let people come and go. And she stole from him and pawned all of his stuff and sold everything he had,” Brenda said.

But, on the night of the attack, Blondie was nowhere to be found. Marcum and Tomsey say the suspect's vengeance was all over drugs others were selling from Junior's home.

“He said they owe me money, and I’m going to go get it,” Tomsey said.

And now Junior is paying the price.

“It's been real hard. I cry every night and day,” Brenda said.

Witnesses describe the suspect as a man who's stocky, muscular and about 5 feet, 9 inches tall. He wears an earring and has tattoos. He goes by the name Jesse.


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