Mt. Olive inmate denied writ in bid to overturn - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Mt. Olive inmate denied writ in bid to overturn 1998 murder conviction

Posted: Updated:
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Woman suffers minor injuries after car rolls on I-77 in Raleigh County

    Woman suffers minor injuries after car rolls on I-77 in Raleigh County

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:13 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:13:55 GMT
    Car rolled multiple times on I-77 North in Raleigh County.Car rolled multiple times on I-77 North in Raleigh County.
    In Raleigh County, a woman is miraculously not seriously injured, after her car rolls over on I-77 around 6:30 Wednesday night.An eyewitness tells us the woman was driving in the left lane on the northbound side. She suddenly veered off the road, over corrected,then slammed into the side of a tractor trailer. The car rolled multiple times before coming to a stop on it's roof.The witness says two small dogs ran out of the car. Moments later, the woman crawled out and ran after one of the dogs....
    In Raleigh County, a woman is miraculously not seriously injured, after her car rolls over on I-77 around 6:30 Wednesday night.An eyewitness tells us the woman was driving in the left lane on the northbound side. She suddenly veered off the road, over corrected,then slammed into the side of a tractor trailer. The car rolled multiple times before coming to a stop on it's roof.The witness says two small dogs ran out of the car. Moments later, the woman crawled out and ran after one of the dogs....
  • Alpha Natural Resources announces potential mine layoffs

    Alpha Natural Resources announces potential mine layoffs

    Thursday, July 31 2014 5:35 PM EDT2014-07-31 21:35:28 GMT
    Around 1,100 coal mining jobs in southern West Virginia could be in danger as Alpha Natural Resources plans to downsize their operations in the mountain state.  The coal mining company made the announcement on Thursday, July 31, 2014.
    Around 1,100 coal mining jobs in southern West Virginia could be in danger as Alpha Natural Resources plans to downsize their operations in the mountain state.  The coal mining company made the announcement on Thursday, July 31, 2014.
  • McDowell County man arrested for sex crimes

    McDowell County man arrested for sex crimes

    Thursday, July 31 2014 4:18 PM EDT2014-07-31 20:18:47 GMT
    George Allan Truhlar, 22, was a fugitive from Virginia. According to Sgt. Melissa Clemons with the Crimes Against Children Unit of the WVSP, Truhlar would exchange sexually explicit photos and videos with teenagers.
    George Allan Truhlar, 22, was a fugitive from Virginia. According to Sgt. Melissa Clemons with the Crimes Against Children Unit of the WVSP, Truhlar would exchange sexually explicit photos and videos with teenagers.

The state Supreme Court has denied a writ of habeas corpus filed by an inmate at the Mt. Olive Correctional Complex currently serving a life sentence for murder.

James Thomas Samples had been sentenced to life without a recommendation for mercy following his 1988 conviction in Kanawha County Circuit Court for first degree murder during commission of an aggravated robbery and burglary.

Samples has now tried on at least three occasions to convince the court to reconsider his case, beginning with his original conviction 16 years ago which he'd appealed but was denied.

A court-appointed lawyer subsequently filed a petition for habeas corpus, alleging errors in jury selection, ineffective assistance of counsel and insufficiency of the indictment against him. That writ, also, was denied by Kanawha County Circuit Court in 2011 and the ruling affirmed last year by the supreme court.

In July, Samples filed another petition for habeas corpus, this time alleging that both his trial counsel as well as the appointed counsel were ineffective because two witnesses were permitted to testify while dressed in prison garb and that allowing them take the stand dressed like prisoners made it impossible for him to get a fair trial. That petition was also dismissed by circuit court in July 2013 but without prejudice, meaning Samples could refile with factual support to substantiate his allegations.

Samples instead appealed that 2013 order, asking the high court to "hold a criminal defendant has a constitutional right to have his incarcerated witnesses testify in civilian clothing rather than in prison attire."

The supreme court, however, in their memorandum opinion cited previous rulings in 1979 and 1983 and reaffirmed in 2000 and 2008 that criminal defendants have no constitutional right to have witnesses appear at trial without physical restraints or in civilian attire. The court declined to revisit the issue, "especially given that petitioner has already had a fair and full opportunity to raise all relevant issues in a prior habeas proceeding."