Woman accused in 2017 stabbing death to undergo psychological evaluation

October 12, 2018

Jennifer Lynn Via, 49, appears in Cabell Circuit Judge Gregory Howard's courtroom on Wednesday.

HUNTINGTON — A Huntington woman accused of stabbing her husband to death last year along 28th Street will undergo a psychological evaluation before a case charging her with murder can move forward.

Jennifer Lynn Via, 49, was charged with murder 10 days after she called 911 at about 8 p.m. Nov. 4, 2017, to report her husband, Thomas Via, had been stabbed in the back at their residence in the 900 block of 28th Street in Huntington.

Cabell Circuit Judge Gregory Howard agreed Wednesday for Via to undergo another psychological evaluation at the request of her attorneys, Kerry Nessel and Abe Saad. The testing could take four to six weeks, which will delay the case at least until Nov. 19, when the sides will return to the courtroom.

Nessel also requested the court order Via be returned to Western Regional Jail. She is currently housed at Southwestern Regional Jail in Boone County, which Nessel said makes it difficult to meet with her to discuss the case.

The defense attorneys also requested additional evidence be turned over so they could better prepare for a future trial in the case.

On the night of her husband’s death, Via told 911 the stabbing instrument had been a letter opener, but police said he had been stabbed with a 14-inch-long decorative dagger that is believed to have penetrated his back seven inches, striking his heart and causing him to bleed to death internally.

Via’s arrest had been delayed in November 2017 as police investigated the case and waited for an autopsy to be completed. During their investigation, they found Via had allegedly given several stories of how her husband was stabbed and attempted days after his death to collect an $80,000 life insurance policy that had been increased weeks before his death.

The varying stories included that he had slipped on water and fell into an old knife or screwdriver. Huntington Detective Chris Sperry said he had been told that Via had been mimicking a ninja superhero movie and accidentally stabbed her husband as he stood up from a bentover position.

Follow reporter Courtney Hessler at Facebook.com/CHesslerHD and via Twitter @HesslerHD.

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