Man found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in 2017 Harrison County beating death, faces 1 year in prison

Crime

UPDATE (6/30/21, 1:14 p.m.):

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – After nearly an hour and 45 minutes of deliberation Wednesday morning, a jury of nine men and three women found Jeremy Hood guilty of the lesser included charge of involuntary manslaughter.

Judge James Matish ordered a pre-sentence investigation and set Hood’s sentencing for August 12 at 1 p.m.

Hood faces up to one year in prison for this conviction.


ORIGINAL STORY (6/29/21 6:56 p.m.):

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The trial of a man accused of beating another man to death with a baseball bat in 2017 continued Tuesday in Harrison County.

Jeremy Hood

Jeremy Hood, 36, of Clarksburg, is accused of killing Joseph Rexrode in that incident. He is charged with voluntary manslaughter.

The prosecution called a trauma surgeon from WVU Medicine to testify about Rexrode’s condition when he arrived at the hospital. She stated that he was on a ventilator, and he had numerous injuries to his skull and brain.

Rexrode died Dec. 9, 2017, and the doctor testified that the cause of his death was blunt force trauma.

Additionally, Rexrode did not have alcohol in his system, though he did test positive for certain drugs, some of which were administered by first responders. However, he also had suboxone and methamphetamine in his system, the doctor stated. Further, the doctor explained that the drugs played no role in Rexrode’s death.

Jeremy Hood

During cross examination, the defense asked whether the damage to Rexrode could have been done by a single blow, which the doctor confirmed.

The state medical examiner at the time also took the stand Tuesday. He reiterated that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.

A West Virginia State Police investigator, who has since retired, spoke about a voluntary interview with Hood. During this interview, Hood stated that he was living in a home owned by his mother in the Stealey neighborhood, and that Rexrode was staying there in his mother’s bedroom.

He testified that Hood said he confronted Rexrode over items that had gone missing. Hood told the investigator that Rexrode approached him with a butcher knife, and that he grabbed a bat and hit Rexrode in self defense. Hood claimed to have been hit by the knife but did not tell law enforcement or first responders at the time; however, he could not provide any evidence of a knife wound. The investigator said Hood later changed his story and stated he was not cut. He then told the investigator that Rexrode was unarmed when he struck him, and that he may have hit him twice.

A sergeant with the Clarksburg Police Department took the stand, as well. He explained that Hood’s original statement was that he and Rexrode were arguing over rent, and that Rexrode approached him with a knife.

The jury heard phone calls Hood made to his mother while he was in jail. In one of them, he stated that he had told Rexrode to get out but he would not do so. He also said in a phone call that Rexrode was fine after he hit him, and that Rexrode was just scared.

The trial will continue Wednesday.

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