Judge puts gag order on Mercer County investigation - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Judge puts gag order on Mercer County investigation


Mercer County Judge Derek Swope placed a temporary gag order for an on-going homicide investigation. The gag order is expected to be enforced for five days, giving the prosecutor and law enforcement time to interview witnesses. 

Law enforcement could not provide specifics as to what happened on Sunday due to the gag order on the criminal complaint. Police did confirm that a body was found in the Lerona area on Easter Sunday, with one responding officer saying it was an "obvious homicide." 

Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler spoke about the significance of this gag order, saying it was necessary to protect the witnesses testimony in this case. " We asked the judge for a five day order to restrict the media's access to the narrative details," Sitler said. "It prevents the possibility that media accounts could color what witnesses might remember about the crime."

 Police officials also stated the gag order was enforced due to the competency of the person charged and to protect the investigative integrity of the case.

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