WV court denies writ to man convicted of co-worker's 1994 stabbi - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

WV court denies writ to man convicted of co-worker's 1994 stabbing death at Nitro eatery

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The West Virginia Supreme Court denied a writ of habeas corpus to Dale E. Guthrie, convicted of murdering a co-worker at a Nitro restaurant in 1994.

Guthrie was sentenced to life in prison, but with the possibility of parole, for stabbing Stephen Todd Farley in the neck in 1994 after the other man flicked him in the face with a dish towel.

Court records indicate Farley and others in the kitchen had been poking fun at Guthrie, who has a history of mental disorders, including frequent panic attacks, chronic depression and borderline personality disorder, and was obsessed with his nose.

Guthrie confessed to the crime, police said.

His first trial ended in a conviction, but was overturned on appeal. He was retried and convicted a second time. Guthrie appealed again, claiming the court had erred in its instructions to the jury, but the Supreme Court refused him.

He'd unsuccessfully petitioned circuit court for a writ in 2007, claiming his trial counsel was ineffective, his rights had been violated and there was insufficient evidence against him to support a conviction of first-degree murder.

He renewed his request for a writ last year, again claiming ineffective counsel and that he'd been denied a fair trial, but was denied again in Kanawha County Circuit Court.

On appeal, the Supreme Court said it found no reason to overturn the lower court's decision, concluding that there was no merit to his arguments and "the mere fact that the circuit court ruled against petitioner does not constitute a sufficient basis to question the circuit court's impartiality."