January 31, 2023

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Pagan Motorcycle Club president denied motion by WVSCA in Fairmont murder case

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WBOY) — The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals upheld a ruling from a reduce court that led to the murder conviction of James Vincent, the former president of a local Pagan Motorbike Club chapter.

According to the Supreme Court docket (WVSCA) decision filed Tuesday, Vincent was sentenced to lifetime in prison for the 2018 murder of Luka Grabb as perfectly as conspiracy and malicious assault just after he was observed guilty in March 2021.

At a bash at his property, Vincent shot Grabb four instances following getting out that the target experienced ideas to rob him, in accordance to courtroom documents. Other men kicked Grabb and left him on the side of the road, exactly where he bled to demise.

In advance of his demo, Vincent filed a “Motion in Limine to Exclude Gang Connected Evidence” to exclude his affiliation with the Pagans in court, but it was denied in circuit court. Vincent appealed to the WVSCA, boasting that his place in the Pagan Motorbike Club was used versus him in demo when it really should not have been.

Facts from the murder demo:

In the attraction, Vincent argued that under rule 404(b)—which states that the use of “evidence of a criminal offense, incorrect, or other act is not admissible to demonstrate a person’s character in buy to present that on a individual event the person acted in accordance with the character”—his affiliation with the Pagans really should not have been utilised as evidence. However, the court docket procedures against him, upholding his conviction and sentencing as they stand.

“We obtain that the circuit court docket did not abuse its discretion in categorizing the proof of Mr. Vincent’s club affiliation as intrinsic and, appropriately, declining to exclude it beneath Rule 404(b).” The ruling claimed that the involving connection between Grabb (a previous member of the Pagans) and Vincent, as properly as many other prospecting Pagan members who have been involved in the murder, “was required to a ‘full presentation’ of the situation, [and was] correct in purchase ‘to
complete the tale of the crime on trial by proving its rapid context.’”

Though the WVSCA ruled that the proof was intrinsic, the conclusion was not unanimous. Chief Justice John A. Hutchison and Justice William R. Wooton dissented in the scenario. Hutchison referred to as the resolution an “error,” and Wooten stated that “there is no indicator that the petitioner’s membership in the club experienced just about anything to do with the genesis of the killing.”

Four other men have been convicted of crimes connected to the murder, but only Vincent was convicted of murder in the situation.