Officials: Slaying convict hanged self

December 7, 2018

MOUNT OLIVE — A Wayne County man convicted of first-degree murder in 2014 after involvement in the stabbing death of James “Red” Bundy, 77, and the wounding of Bundy’s wife, Myrtle, died on the evening of Saturday, Nov. 24, at the Mount Olive Correction Complex in West Virginia, according to officials.

Elijah Jarvey Marcum, 23, of Wayne, was an inmate at Mount Olive and was taken to the facility’s infirmary after officials found that he needed medical attention, said Lawrence Messina, director of communications for the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. Marcum was pronounced dead there, about an hour after being discovered.

While a report from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner remains pending, all evidence identified so far shows the inmate hanged himself, Messina said.

Marcum was sentenced to Mount Olive after he pleaded guilty last year to first-degree murder and grand larceny for stealing the Bundys* ATV. He could have been eligible for parole after serving 10 years.

On Nov. 11, 2014, Jeremy Marcum stabbed to death Bundy and injured his wife after coming to their home on Billy Branch Road in Genoa and asking to use their phone. James Bundy answered the door and was immediately attacked with a knife; his wife was attacked after coming to her husband’s aid.

While Jeremy Marcum was the one who wielded the knife in the attack, Elijah Marcum and the Bundys’ neighbor, Melissa Gail Watts, 35 at the time, also were convicted for their part in encouraging the attack. Elijah Marcum later pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and received a life sentence with mercy, allowing him the possibility of parole. Watts pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to at least 10 years in prison.

According to previous testimony, the three acquaintances discussed an attack while spending time together at Watts’ home after a day of using illegal and over-the-counter drugs. During testimony throughout his trial, Jeremy Marcum said he only went to the Bundys’ house after Elijah Marcum and Watts encouraged him.

About 30 minutes after he left Watts’ home, Jeremy Marcum returned covered in blood, Elijah Marcum told police. Elijah Marcum later testified he thought Jeremy Marcum’s bloody return was a joke. The pair then hid in Watts’ attic after Jeremy Marcum threatened Elijah Marcum and Watts.

Watts stayed on the main level and even talked with police who knocked on her door while surveying the area, Elijah Marcum said. After an unknown amount of time, Watts sent the two away with directions on how to stay off the road.

Elijah and Jeremy Marcum were later apprehended at Elijah Marcum’s home, after which Jeremy Marcum gave a full confession to police, recorded inside a police cruiser with a video camera.

Jeremy Marcum’s attorneys argued at his West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals trial last year that the interview should not have been played because he was so intoxicated at the time of the statement he could not have knowingly volunteered the statement understanding his rights, but justices upheld the conviction 5-0.

Jeremy Marcum is housed at Mount Olive Correctional Complex serving a life sentence without parole.

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