1981 Harrison County murder trial enters day 2


CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Day two of a murder trial in Harrison County began with more testimony for the prosecution.

First, Joe Gonzalez testified that he took the aerial photographs of the North View Athletic Club ball field on the day 7-year-old Conrad Roger “C.R.” Diaz was killed.

Jeff Varner, who was a child at the time, testified that he spoke with a West Virginia State Police trooper who tried to make him say that he witnessed the crime. Varner stated that the trooper took him to the crime scene and said if Varner did not say he saw the crime that the trooper would send his mother and stepfather to jail and send him to reform school, but if he cooperated he would buy Varner some candy and a new bike.

While meeting with Varner before the trial, prosecutors showed him a paper that had his signature on it, but Varner said he never signed it. When asked in court if he saw Diaz get killed, Varner said he did not.

Varner’s brother, Roger Varner also testified. He lived in Laurel Lanes at the time of Diaz’ death. Law enforcement stopped the brothers and asked them if they had seen Diaz, according to his testimony. Roger Varner stated that he remembered the same trooper coming back to talk with him and some other officers and said the trooper tried to get him to say he saw something that he did not see.

Further, Roger Varner stated that the trooper tried to get him to say that a 13-year-old boy had killed Diaz. However, according to Roger Varner, that boy and his brother were picking berries at the time. When asked directly if that boy had killed Diaz, Roger Varner said he did not.

During cross examination, the defense asked Roger Varner if he told the trooper that the boy had a knife, to which he answered no. He added that he could only remember the trooper showing him a statement and reading it to him, and then him signing it.

Another man who was a state trooper at the time also took the stand and stated that he had attended the autopsy and took photographs.

To end the testimony on Tuesday, the prosecution called Dr. Thomas Horacek, a psychologist, who has evaluated Jeffries.

In determining Jeffries’ intelligence, Horacek stated that Jeffries scored in the borderline range, and his school skills were relatively low; however he was not mentally retarded. During defense questioning, he stated that Jeffries scored nine points above the level for mental retardation.

Horacek testified that he asked Jeffries about whether he sexually abused children. Jeffries admitted that he had sexually molested kids from the age of 13; he would find them in his neighborhood, become friends with them and then lure them to parks for seclusion, according to Horacek’s testimony.

Horacek also stated that Jeffries would put his hand over kids’ mouths to keep them from screaming. The prosecution asked Horacek if sexually assaulting a child is considered violent, to which he replied yes. Horacek said he had no knowledge of Jeffries being violent with children other than grabbing them and putting his hand over their mouths when they began screaming.

12 News will provide updates as the trial continues.

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