Weirton man charged in death
WELLSBURG — A 69-year-old Wellsburg man was bludgeoned to death by a man who crawled through a window early Saturday morning to get inside his home, Police Chief Richard Ferguson said.
The victim, Daniel Gilchrist, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Ferguson said a 27-year-old Weirton man, Jeffrey Allen White, is being held without bond at Northern Regional Jail on charges of first degree murder and burglary.
Ferguson said the responding officers “came upon Mr. White (outside the residence) and drew (weapons) down on him, he told them, ‘I might be the guy you’re looking for.’
“He (White) apparently knew a couple people in Wellsburg, in the neighborhood,” he said. “He was at their house and started drinking. He got belligerent and they ordered him out of the house (at around 4:30 a.m.). He didn’t really have anywhere to go because he’d got a ride down.”
He said Gilchrist was frail and sickly. His apartment, located at Charles and 26th streets, had at one time been a pool hall.
His assailant allegedly tried to force his way through the front entry, and when that didn’t work he pulled an air conditioner out of a street-level window and crawled inside.
The chief said Gilchrist was sleeping on a sofa and when he heard the commotion, grabbed a gun and tried to defend himself, firing a round at the door. White allegedly entered the apartment through the window and charged Gilchrist, overpowering him, the chief said.
Gilchrist sustained “severe blunt force trauma after a vicious attack,” Ferguson said, adding it was Gilchrist’s upstairs neighbors who called 911, telling dispatchers they’d heard a commotion and what sounded like a gunshot.
Ferguson added he was “impressed” with how quickly officers from his department and the Brooke County Sheriff’s Department had responded to the emergency call and conducted the investigation.