LATEST: New suspect arrested in beating after two others cleared - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

LATEST: New suspect arrested in beating after two others cleared

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Damon Valentine Damon Valentine
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BLUEFIELD (WVVA) - A new suspect has been arrested in the severe beating of a Bluefield man, after two previous suspects are cleared.

Damon Valentine was arraigned Friday. He's charged with felony unlawful assault in connection with the May 22 beating of 54-year-old Daniel Baker.

According to police, an unidentified female whom Baker had allegedly hired for sexual favors claimed that Baker had tried to assault her. Baker was then allegedly beaten by Valentine and a second suspect who remains at large.

Two men previously charged in the beating were cleared after police spoke with the female who told investigators that the other men were not involved.

Police say the man who had previously confessed was under the influence of drugs the night of the beating, and confessed thinking that he could have been involved in the crime.

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BLUEFIELD (WVVA)- Officers with the Bluefield, WV Police Department say William Wetzel and Jimmy Cook are cleared of all charges in connection to the brutal beating and robbery of Daniel Baker, 54.

According to Detective K.L. Adams, the arrest of the female at large sparked information on the gentlemen involved. 

Detective Adams says the Wetzel and Cook were arrested because Cook confessed.

He states, "We showed him the pictures, the still shot photos from some of the footage and asked if that was him. Mr. Cook stated that it was him and that he had committed this crime. He confessed to it. Continuing our case further investigation we were actually able to locate a female subject who also stated she was the female of that night. She stated Mr.Cook had no involvement in it although he had confessed."
  
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BLUEFIELD (WVVA) - Two people have been arrested in connection with the severe beating of a man during an apparent robbery in Bluefield.

William Wetzel, 21, is charged with first-degree robbery, assault during the commission of a felony and conspiracy in the beating of Daniel Baker that occurred last Thursday morning.

Jimmy Cook, 21, is charged with conspiracy. Investigators say he was a witness that failed to come forward. He was not directly involved in the beating.

According to the criminal complaint, two friends of Baker found him severely beaten at his home on Jefferson Street on Friday, May 23 -- more than 24 hours after he had been drinking at one of the friends' home nearby.

Surveillance video from the area obtained by police shows Baker entering the gate to his residence around 2 a.m. on Thursday, May 22. The video then shows three subjects approach Baker's home. Two of the subjects enter the gate and assault him while the third watches. All three then fled the scene toward Lewis Street.

Hours later, Baker can be seen on the video getting up and entering his home, where he would later be found naked and unconscious with severe injuries.

Baker is currently in critical condition with multiple brain bleeds and numerous facial injuries. If Baker survives, according to a forensic nurse at Roanoke Memorial Hospital, he will never fully recover from his injuries and will require medical treatment for the rest of his life.

On Tuesday, May 27, Cook and Wetzel were picked up by police at a residence on Union Street. Cook had been spotted earlier in the day by police wearing the same clothing as seen in the surveillance video.

Upon questioning, Cook told police that he, Wetzel and an unidentified female saw Baker passed out on the steps at his home. Cook said Wetzel and the female entered the gate and Wetzel began stomping on Baker. The female then took items from Baker's pockets and the three fled.

Cook said he was intoxicated on alcohol and cocaine the morning of the incident.

Wetzel refused to give a statement to police, the complaint states.

Cook told police he did not know the identity of the female. She remains at large.

If you have any information, contact the Bluefield Police Department.


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BLUEFIELD (WVVA)--Police are looking for three people wanted for brutally beating a man during an apparent robbery.

According to Detective K.L. Adams with the Bluefield, West Virginia Police, two men and a woman were involved in the robbery.

It happened Thursday morning around 3:00 a.m. in an alley off Jefferson Street.

Adams says the victim, Daniel Baker, 54, was kicked multiple times and remains unconscious at Roanoke Memorial Hospital. He has suffered a brain bleed and facial fractures. Adams says the three suspects took Baker's wallet.

If you have any information on the identity of three suspects, you are urged to call the Bluefield, West Virginia Police.
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