UPDATE(Oct. 19, 2021 12:15 p.m.)
KINGWOOD, W.Va. – The Preston County Sheriff’s Department has released more information on a murder investigation.
On Thursday, Oct. 14, the Garrett County Sheriff’s Office, in Maryland, began investigating the kidnapping of the murder victim, Jimmy Lee Barkley, according to a news release. Their investigation lead them to find out that Barkley had been forced out of a home in Oakland, Md. and was taken to a cabin near Eglon, W.Va., the news release said.
Leading up to the kidnapping, in the late hours of Tuesday, Oct. 12 and into the early morning of Wednesday, Oct. 13, Andrew Wassick, 24; Dashawn Scott, 25 and Roy Cheshire, 20, found Barkley inside the Oakland residence, stripped him down, tied him up and forced him into a vehicle before taking him to the cabin, according to sheriff’s deputies. When they arrived, they turned Barkley over to murder suspect Damon Hudgens. This was all done at the direction of Hudgens for “retribution,” sheriff’s deputies went on to say.
After Barkley was taken to the cabin, witnesses heard multiple gunshots in the nearby wooded area, the news release said.
On Saturday, Oct. 16, detectives with the Garrett County Sheriff’s Office received information about the location of the shooting in West Virginia, according to authorities. Preston County sheriff’s deputies and the K9 search and rescue team from the Grafton Volunteer Fire Department responded to the cabin area and found Barkley’s body in a remote area, they said. The West Virginia State Police Crime Team was called in to process the “complex crime scene,” the news release described.
After authorities interviewed multiple witnesses, Hudgens was identified as the shooting suspect, sheriff’s deputies said.
While the murder investigation was on-going, members of Pennsylvania State Police Troop B Vice and Narcotics Unit and the Mon Metro Drug Task Force conducted multiple operations in Uniontown, Pa. and Morgantown, arresting four individuals, including Hudgens. Also arrested were Darrell Pettaway, 31 of Detroit, Kathryn Rodriguez, 38 and Wassick, both of Morgantown. All four were arrested on several drug charges. Hudgens, Pettaway and Rodriguez face drug charges out of Monongalia County. Wassick is charged with possession with intent and delivery of a controlled substance, in Pennsylvania, where authorities say he delivered one pound of methamphetamine in Fayette County.
In the Barkley shooting death, Hudgens has been charged with first degree murder, in Preston County, while Wassick, Scott and Cheshire are all charged with kidnapping and first and second degree assault, in Garrett County.
Hudgens is being held in the North Central Regional Jail, without bond. Scott and Cheshire are being held in the Garrett County Detention Center. Wassick is being held in the Fayette County(Pa.) Prison on the drug charge, with a $30,000 bond. Should he post the bond, he would be extradited to Garrett County, according to officials.
The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected, sheriff’s deputies said. Anyone with further information on the case is asked to call Capt. R.A. Zimmerman at 301-334-1911 or Capt. J.H. Bryan at 304-329-1611.
ORIGINAL STORY(Oct. 18, 2021 1:44 p.m.)
EGLON, W.Va. — A Detroit man has been charged with first-degree murder for killing a man in Preston County.
According to a criminal complaint filed by the Preston County Sheriff’s Department, multiple individuals “kidnapped Jimmy Lee Barkley” from Garrett County, Maryland on Oct. 13.
The individuals, including Damon Hudgens, 20, of Detroit, Michigan, then drove Barkley to a residence on Kight Road near Eglon, deputies said.
At that time, Hudgens “walked a fully restrained Barkley to a secluded area near the residence and premeditatedly killed him,” according to the complaint.
Officials have not released a motive or any other details related to the alleged crime.
Hudgens has been charged with first-degree murder. He is currently being held in North Central Regional Jail.
12 News has reached out to the Preston County Sheriff’s Department for additional information into the incident and information on the other individuals mentioned in the complaint, but those calls have not yet been returned.