UPDATE: One mother dead, another behind bars - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: One mother dead, another behind bars

Elizabeth Slagle Elizabeth Slagle
Suspect Judith Kowaleski in court Suspect Judith Kowaleski in court
At the Brushfork shooting scene At the Brushfork shooting scene

BRUSHFORK (WVVA) - A woman is dead and another behind bars after a shooting in Mercer County Thursday night that apparently stemmed from an earlier fight between their children on a school bus.

42-year-old Judith Kowaleski of Bluefield, has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Elizabeth Slagle.

The shooting occurred before 10 p.m. Thursday at the intersection of Route 123 and Nichols Road in Brushfork.

According to the criminal complaint obtained by WVVA News, Kowaleski told police the dispute stemmed from a previous fight between her child and a child of Slagle on a school bus.

The suspect, the suspect's aunt -- identified as Barbra Harrington -- and the victim apparently exchanged phone calls and text messages before meeting at the location where the shooting occurred.

A witness at the scene -- identified in the criminal complaint as Kowaleski's boyfriend George Slagle -- said Elizabeth Slagle had 'tased' Judith Kowaleski and Harrington who accompanied her to the scene.

George Slagle told police that Kowaleski shot Elizabeth Slagle, the complaint states.

The complaint says Kowaleski told police she was trying to get the victim off her when the gun discharged.

She further stated that the victim told her she had a gun and was going to shoot. Then, Kowaleski said, the victim ran at her with an object in her hand and that's when the shooting occurred.

According to a witness who arrived at the scene after the shooting, the victim's body was in the roadway and CPR was being administered.

The criminal complaint states that Kowaleski and Harrington were administering CPR to the victim.

Slagle was transported to Bluefield Regional Medical Center where she was pronounced dead from a single gunshot wound to the chest.

Police recovered the alleged murder weapon at the residence of Kowaleski. Harrington told police she took the gun back to the suspect's home.

Kowaleski was arraigned Friday morning. She is being held without bond at Southern Regional Jail.

WVVA's Stephanie Crace was at Friday morning's hearing and will continue to provide new information as it becomes available.

State Police have scheduled a news conference for 3 p.m.


At least one person was transported to the hospital after an apparent shooting in Mercer County.  It happened at the intersection of Route 123 and Nichols Road in Brushfork. 

Police tell us a woman was taken to the hospital with paramedics administering CPR en route.  Another woman was seen placed in the rear of a police cruiser. 

Details are limited at this time.

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