EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSILLEGAL GUN ARREST
from Eyewitness News Online
Teen Acquitted For Double Murder Found With Illegal Gun; Named Person Of Interest In Unsolved Murder
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Videographer: Troy Morgan
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Reported: Jan. 16, 2013 10:17 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 17, 2013 10:54 AM EST
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
A man acquitted in a Charleston double murder has found himself facing a whole new set of charges after being caught with an illegal gun.
Now, Eyewitness News has learned he's also a "person of interest" in another unsolved murder in the city.
When James Daugherty was just 16 years old, he was tried as an adult in a double murder case, but was found not guilty. Now, he's back on police radar and potentially looking at decades in prison, if his case goes federal.
"The allegations in this complaint are very serious," explains Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants. "These allegations support that this defendant is involved in very dangerous activity," he goes on to say.
Early Wednesday morning, Dunbar police were told to be on the lookout for a car involved in a disturbance at the Nitro Wal-Mart and that the male passenger possibly had a gun.
After pulling the car over on 6th Street, police say they found a loaded .38 Smith and Wesson revolver under Daugherty's seat. Police noted that the serial number on that gun had been filed off.
"Guns that have the serial number filed off typically are stolen and often stolen guns are used in homicides," says Plants.
When Daugherty was just 16 he was put on trial as an adult for the murders of Carrie Pontier and Bruce Duling. They were found shot to death in a car along Chesterfield Avenue in Kanawha City in 2010. A jury found him not guilty during his trial last year, but Daugherty's name has come up again.
Charleston Police tell Eyewitness News that Daugherty also known as "Little" is a "person of interest" in the unsolved murder of John Rogers. Rogers was found shot to death on a set of railroad tracks along Madison Street over the summer.
"There's no evidence at this point that this gun is connected to any crime whatsoever, but that is a process that is followed in every case," said Plants.
Prosecutors say he will likely be charged in federal court for the gun found on Wednesday.
Altering a serial number on a gun can land you ten years in prison. A serial number that is completely unidentifiable is another ten years.
In light of President Obama's declaration for stricter gun control laws, Plants says that most violent crimes involve guns that aren't properly registered, and have ended up in the wrong hands.
"I don't think any gun control laws whatsoever will decrease the amount of crime, you decrease crime by holding people accountable for what they did and you put them in prison for a very, very long time," he said.
Assistant prosecuting attorney Fred Giggenbach filed a memo early Wednesday morning requesting that a high bond be set for Daugherty. He wrote, "the state believes the defendant to be a danger to the community with potential for flight or retaliation against witnesses in this case."
Daugherty is being held on a $50,000 cash only bond on a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. The charge carries a possible penalty of up to 12 months in jail, if convicted. The state says it plans to seek a maximum sentence if he is convicted.
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