KINGWOOD, W.Va. (WBOY) – A trial for Zachary Saunders, who is accused of murdering his stepfather John Uphold, continued in Preston County on Tuesday.
Saunders was charged with murder in March 2021 after Uphold’s body was found with evidence of a struggle near their shared apartment complex. A criminal complaint against Saunders said Uphold’s body was found “lying in a large pool of blood, there was a blood trail leading from where his truck was parked, and there were multiple blood pools along the trail.”
An autopsy revealed that Uphold had suffered multiple hits to the head.
During the trial on Tuesday, law enforcement who testified against Saunders said that his behavior was odd on the day of the alleged murder.
Officers said that when they notified Saunders of Uphold’d death on that day, he responded in a defensive way, saying that he and the victim were “good.” Body cam footage of Saunders also recorded him saying “I didn’t do it if that’s what you’re asking” prior to him becoming a suspect.
One testifying officer who had informed Saunders of his stepfather’s death said, “I’ve never seen someone act so cold before.”
Law enforcement also said that there were discrepancies in Saunders’ story; for example, Saunders told officers that he had been sleeping when they arrived to inform him of the death, but he was dressed and looked fully alert.
The defense questioned several opening points, such as why Saunders being fully dressed was suspicious and why law enforcement had searched Saunders for defensive wounds before he was considered a suspect.
The responding deputy said that he searched Saunders for his own safety to make sure he was not carrying a hidden weapon.
The trial will reconvene on Wednesday. Stick with 12 News for this developing story.