CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Arrest warrants have been issued for three inmates at the Mount Olive Correctional Center in relation to a cold case murder that happened in the former Harrison County Correctional Center in 1989, law enforcement officials said.
According to Harrison County Sheriff’s deputy Dixon Pruitt, John Perry, of Logan County, was in cell E of the fifth floor range of the former Harrison County Correctional Center when he was beaten and strangled to death.
Perry’s killing was related to a power struggle at the Moundsville State Penitentiary’s North Hall, according to court documents. Perry had been “marked” and ordered to be killed if an opportunity to do so arose, criminal complaints said.
During that time, Frederick Hamilton, 62; Charles Franklin, 64; and Warren Franklin, 63; were inmates in the Moundsville State Penitentiary, but were being held in the Harrison County facility in order to testify for a trial, Pruitt said.
All three men have given detailed confessions to investigators, according to their criminal complaints. All cell doors on the jail’s fifth floor were open, allowing access to Perry. Hamilton was able to remove his shackles, along with those of both Franklins, using a homemade hand cuff key he brought with him from Moundsville, the documents said.
After getting Perry into cell E, an unnamed inmate put him in a “sleeper hold” and Charles Franklin began beating him in the face, before putting his neck on a metal bunk and putting his foot on Perry’s neck, the criminal complaint detailed. Lacerations and abrasions were found on Charles Franklin’s hands and arms and blood was found on his coveralls and shoe, investigators said.
After removing everyone’s shackles, Hamilton acted as a lookout while other inmates beat Perry unconscious. He then ripped the bottom portion of his white t-shirt off and wrapped it around Perry’s neck as tight as he could, Hamilton’s criminal complaint said. Blood was also found on Hamilton’s coveralls and his t-shirt was missing, according to investigators.
Warren Franklin used the shackles he had removed from his hands to beat Perry in the face and head, he told sheriff’s deputies.
According to a 12 News report from March 14, 1989, the murder trial of William “Red” Snyder, of Weston, who was accused of killing an inmate during the Jan. 1, 1986, Moundsville Penitentiary riot, was under way, with Perry set to testify. Upon hearing of Perry’s death, in the jail upstairs from the courtroom, Judge Daniel McCarthy declared a mistrial.
The three men will be charged in connection to Perry’s murder, according to Pruitt.
Currently, warrants have been issued on the charges of second-degree murder for Hamilton and Charles Franklin, as well as a warrant for malicious wounding for Warren Franklin, according to Pruitt.
Hamilton is serving several prison sentences for 1978 convictions in Grant County for first degree murder, malicious assault, first degree robbery with weapons and abduction, as well as first degree robbery with weapons in Harrison County, also in 1978, according to the West Virginia Division of Corrections website.
Charles Franklin is in prison after being convicted of breaking and entering in Berkeley County in 1975, first degree robbery with weapons in both Hampshire and Morgan counties in 1982, assault during the commission of a felony, also in Morgan County in 1982 and second degree murder in Wood County in 1987, as listed by the DOC website.
Warren Franklin is serving time for his convictions for first degree robbery with weapons in Hampshire and Morgan counties in 1982, assault during the commission of a felony, also in Morgan County in 1982 and first degree murder in Harrison County in 1988, the DOC website said.