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Fall eyed for Brooke murder trial

WELLSBURG — The trial for a Weirton man charged with the murder of 69-year-old Daniel K. Gilchrist may not be heard until fall.

On Monday, Jeffrey Allen White, 27, of Weirton, waived his right to a trial in the 1st Judicial Circuit Court’s current term, and Brooke County Prosecutor Joseph Barki III said he may not receive an autopsy report for the victim until October.

Barki told Circuit Court Judge Ronald Wilson he has asked the state medical examiner’s office to expedite the report while adding he also awaits the results of forensic examinations in the case.

Because of the pandemic, parties involved in the case participated in a pre-trial hearing conducted by telephone.

White was on a phone at the Northern Regional Jail, where he has been held since his arrest for first-degree murder.

Jack Wood, White’s attorney, asked the judge to consider reducing the $200,000 bond set for his client with the understanding White may be ordered to home confinement until the trial is held.

Wilson said he believed a motion for a bond reduction would be “an uphill battle” in light of the charge involved.

“It’s rare in a case like this that the bond is as low as $200,000 in other jurisdictions,” he advised.

A hearing on the request was planned for a date in May to be determined, while a status hearing on the trial itself was set for June 11.

Barki noted White was indicted by a Brooke County grand jury on March 1, not long after the incident for which he was charged with first-degree murder.

Wellsburg Police said on Feb. 20, White attempted to force open the front door of Gilchrist’s Charles Street home, leading Gilchrist to fire shots at the door in defense.

Police said White entered the home by removing a window air conditioner, then struck and killed Gilchrist. A motive for his actions isn’t clear.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)

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