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Second person arrested in connection with November murder in Roane County

Sandyn Tawney has been charged with first degree murder for the death of John Hall in Roane County in November. (Photo Courtesy: WV Regional Jail)

A second person has been arrested in connection with the murder of a man in Roane County in November 2018.

Sandyn "Alex" Tawney, 22, of Spencer is now charged with first degree murder for the death of James Hall on Nov. 18. Troopers had already arrested Michael Smith and also charged him with first degree murder on Nov. 22.

According to the criminal complaint, Hall was found dead in the top of a wood built cellar at 4130 Ripley Road in Spencer. Troopers say Hall had been shot multiple times and had a laceration to the right side of his head and arm. Troopers say they also discovered loaded shells on the steps leading to the porch of the cellar and a spent shell casing underneath the steps.

Tawney and Smith were both named as suspects in the murder over the course of the investigation, according to the criminal complaint.

During an interview with troopers on Jan. 7, investigators say Tawney told them he saw Smith open the door to the cellar before shooting a gun into the room. Tawney went on to say, according to troopers, that he saw Smith exit the cellar carrying an ax, which he threw into the back of the cellar. Tawney told troopers that the following day, Smith instructed him and another woman to bury the ax at 9 Camelot Drive in Spencer.

The woman told troopers that she asked Tawney if Smith had made him use the ax. She claims Tawney "put his head down, teared up, and said, 'Yeah, and it haunts me, and I was scared to ******* death and afraid Michael was going to kill me and I didn't know if I was going to walk out there that night.'"

"He further stated he swung the ax and hit him in the back of the head. He also stated remembering hearing the sound of blood and bones," troopers wrote in the criminal complaint.

Another female witness claimed she was friends with Tawney and he told her that they went to the home to collect money, according to investigators.

Tawney is being held without bond at the Central Regional Jail. Smith is also still incarcerated there as well.



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