Shooting death trial pushed back to February 2019
HUNTINGTON - Fears that the holiday season could interfere with jury selection have resulted in a December trial in the 2017 shooting death of KaFrederick “Bae Bae” McEachin, 25, being pushed back to 2019.
Antwon Rayshawn Starkey, 31, of Huntington, is accused of shooting McEachin, a 2012 graduate of Huntington High School and well-known youth football coach, the afternoon of Dec. 12, 2017, at a gas station along Hal Greer Boulevard in Huntington.
Police said surveillance video shows McEachin opening the door of the store for Starkey, who then walks through the doors and passes a few people before pulling a gun out of his right jacket pocket and turning to shoot McEachin twice.
McEachin, who was unarmed, then ran out of the store and collapsed on the pavement. He was followed shortly after by Starkey, who stood over McEachin’s body and shot him once in the head and once in the back.
Starkey called 911 a few hours later to turn himself in and was arrested two blocks from where the shooting took place.
Starkey allegedly told police he shot McEachin after hearing rumors that McEachin was connected with the shooting of his 14-year-old stepdaughter.
Assistant prosecutors Sharon Frazier and Lauren Plymale, along with defense attorneys Abe Saad and Jack Dolance, met with Cabell Circuit Judge Gregory Howard on Tuesday to discuss what was to be final motions in the case, which was set to go to trial Dec. 18.
However, by the end of the hearing, the sides had determined the holiday season might interfere with finding a jury to serve during the trial, which is expected to last five to eight days. The trial was pushed to Feb. 26, 2019, to avoid those issues.
In one of their motions, defense attorneys were granted a request to ban family and friends of McEachin from displaying any items that would cause an emotional response from the jury, such as clothing or posters featuring a picture or emotional phrases about the victim.
Howard declined to rule Tuesday on whether a statement Starkey gave to police after his arrest could be admitted as evidence at trial.
Prosecutors said Starkey waived his rights prior to the hearing because he wanted to speak with police to “get his story out” and even signed a piece of paper stating such. Defense attorneys argued Starkey was not in the right state of mind at the time because he feared for his life, which is why McEachin was shot.
While now-retired Huntington detective Chris Sperry testified at Tuesday’s hearing that Starkey’s demeanor when giving the statement was calm and collected, Howard said he wanted to review a video taken of the interrogation before making a ruling.
Among other motions, defense attorneys were denied a request for a questionnaire with about 50 questions to be sent to potential jurors to speed up jury selection.
Howard said the questionnaire would be redundant. In another motion, Howard agreed to file under seal unredacted police notes surrounding the shooting of Starkey’s stepdaughter in case Starkey was convicted and needed to appeal.
The sides will still return to the courtroom Dec. 18 to go over additional motions made by prosecutors.
Prior to the hearing adjourning and at defense objection, prosecutors said they plan to bring up the defendant’s alleged illegal drug history at trial in order to establish what his relationship was with the person who drove him to and from the scene of the crime. The sides will hear arguments on this at the Dec. 18 hearing.
Follow reporter Courtney Hessler at Facebook.com/CHesslerHD and via Twitter @HesslerHD.