West Virginia Supreme Court affirms murder sentencings in Harrison County

Crime

Elizabeth Jenkins and Daniel Amsler

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The West Virginia Supreme Court has issued memorandum decisions in two appeals related to the 2017 shooting death of an Ohio woman in Clarksburg.

In those decisions, the court affirmed orders by Harrison County Circuit Court sentencing Elizabeth Jenkins and Daniel Amsler to life sentences for first-degree murder and one to five years in prison for conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery. A jury convicted Jenkins and Amsler in separate trials in the death of Keyairy Wilson.

Elizabeth Jenkins

Jenkins appealed her sentencing on several grounds, arguing:

  • the circuit court erred in admitting the statement that Jenkins gave to police
  • the circuit court failed to adequately instruct the jury on felony murder
  • there was insufficient evidence to convict her of felony murder
  • the circuit court erred in admitting “highly inflammatory gruesome photographs” of the victim
  • the circuit court erred in permitting into evidence her and Amsler’s out-of-court statements
  • she was prejudiced by cumulative error

The memorandum decision states that the court found no error in any of these points.

Daniel Amsler

Amsler appealed his sentencing on four grounds, arguing:

  • the circuit court erred in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal because there was insufficient evidence to support a felony murder conviction
  • the circuit court erred in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal because there was insufficient evidence to support a murder conviction
  • the circuit court erred in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal because there was insufficient evidence to support a conspiracy conviction
  • the circuit court erred in denying petitioner’s motion for a new trial on the ground that the State was allowed to present hearsay testimony from an investigating officer

The memorandum decision states that the court found no error in any of these points.

According to court documents, Jenkins stated that she accidentally shot Wilson, while Amsler told police that Jenkins shot Wilson in anger because she believed that Amsler and Wilson had been sexually intimate. Jenkins admitted to cutting Wilson’s throat and wrists and, with help from Amsler, disposing of Wilson’s body in a wooded area of Barbour County, according to court documents.

A third person, Warren Hall, is serving a 28-year prison term after he pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery and conspiracy and agreed to testify against Jenkins and Amsler.

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