Randy Yohe Published

 State Trooper Murder Case Goes To Grand Jury

Man in prison orange jumpsuit flanked by police
Murder suspect Timothy Kennedy being led into court.
Randy Yohe/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In Mingo County Magistrate Court on Friday, 29-year-old Timothy Kennedy, of Matewan, waived his right to a preliminary hearing. The first-degree murder case now goes to a grand jury, which will decide if there’s enough evidence to indict Kennedy. A special grand jury could be called to consider the case.

Police say Kennedy shot and killed State Police Sgt. Cory Maynard, who was responding to a shots fired call, in an ambush-type setting one week ago. 

Kennedy, who fled the scene on foot, was arrested just before 11 p.m. on Friday, June 2, after a seven-hour manhunt. Police say he was found in a stolen vehicle.

Mingo County Prosecutor Duke Jewell said he’ll now proceed – in what he calls a very complex murder case – to make a fully informed Grand Jury indictment presentation. 

“In real time, a week ago today, when these horrific events were happening, the State Police’s top priority was, of course, public safety,” Jewell said. “It’s a first degree murder charge. The amount of evidence that’s going to be reviewed, analyzed, and some of it submitted for forensic testing, that’s going to take time and increase the complexity.” 

Court records show that Kennedy previously had a sexual assault against a minor charge dropped and had been found trespassing in a closed coal mine with evidence of copper removal. He had been shot at while fleeing from police as well.

Kennedy is also the suspect in the last Friday afternoon shooting of 39-year-old Benjamin Baldwin, 39, of Matewan who remains in a Charleston hospital in serious but stable condition. Police have said to expect more charges against Kennedy. 

Jewell said all charges beyond the first-degree murder charge will be addressed after the evidence is fully analyzed. 

Kennedy was returned to the Southwestern Regional Jail where he’s being held without bond. Jewell said in first-degree murder cases, bond is discretionary.

“There’s no bond,” Jewell said. “That allows the public to be protected. We don’t have to worry about any future crimes and the state police can focus on the investigation.”

Maynard was killed just two days before the Patrol Officer Cassie Marie Johnson Act, Senate Bill 490, became effective 90 days from passage. Named for slain Charleston Police Officer Cassie Johnson, the law  establishes the criminal penalty for killing a law enforcement officer, or any first responder, as life imprisonment with parole eligibility after service of 15 years. The law effectively takes away the premeditated burden of proof. Jewell said the law was likely not applicable here. 

“I have not reviewed the final print version of that but I can’t imagine it would be retroactive,” he said. “That’s the law as it existed at the time the crimes were committed. That’s the law applicable to the case.”   

Two of Maynard’s many close friends, Jimmy Copley and Shawn Marcum, who attended Maynard’s Memorial Service Wednesday, sat motionless in the courtroom. Marcum said he struggled to think about what might constitute justice in this case. 

“There’s just too many emotions right now to know what would even be considered justice for this process,” he said.

Jewell said the first-degree murder case against Kennedy could be ready for grand jury presentation as early as September, but qualified that statement, saying sometime between September and January.