LATEST: One of two suspects in death of Roy Barnes pleads guilty

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Feb. 4, 2020 11:40 a.m. UPDATE: RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WVNS) — One of two suspects in a Raleigh County murder pleaded guilty to first degree murder.

Franklin Yancey pleaded guilty to first degree murder charges in front of Judge Andrew Dimlich. He will be sentenced to life in prison with mercy.

Yancey was one of two men accused of murdering Roy Barnes in the Whitby area of Raleigh County in September 2019.

The other suspect, William Garretson, is also facing first degree murder in his case.


Jan. 23, 2020 4:30 p.m. UPDATE: BEAVER, WV (WVNS) — Two men accused of murder were indicted by a Raleigh County Grand Jury.

William Garretson and Franklin Yancey were both indicted on first degree murder charges. Both men are accused of murdering 20-year-old Roy Barnes.

Garretson and Yancey will be arraigned on February 3, 2020 in front of the Honorable Andrew Dimlich.


BEAVER, WV (WVNS) — 9/23/19 6:30p.m. LATEST — Two men are facing murder charges in connection to a body found on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019 in Raleigh County.

Raleigh County deputies found the body of Roy Barnes in the woods on top of a mountain in Whitby, WV. Barnes had been shot.

The investigation led deputies to arrest William Garretson and Franklin Yancey on Saturday, September 21, 2019.

Raleigh County prosecuting attorney, Kristen Keller, said, “Yancey and Garretson are both charged with the murder of 20-year-old Barnes.”

Court documents state Yancy and Garretson took Barnes into the woods of Whitby on an ATV. Yancey allegedly shot Barnes twice while Garretson waited nearby.      

Investigators found the alleged murder weapon in an outbuilding on Garretson’s property.

Police reports said Yancey confessed to planning the murder after he claimed Barnes stole personal property from him. He admitted to investigators that Garretson helped him carry out the act.

“The principal, that is the direct perpetrator and then we have an aider and abetter,” Keller said. “That by law is someone who is present at the scene of the crime and does not directly commit the crime, but in some way associates himself with the principal or the direct perpetrator and counsels him or encourages him.”

Yancey and Garretson are both charged with murder and conspiracy to commit a felony.

“Under West Virginia law both are equally responsible,” said Keller.

Both Yancey and Garretson live in the Sullivan Hill area — the same location family members told us Barnes was last seen.


WHITBY, WV (WVNS) — 9/21/19 8:30 a.m. UPDATE: Two men are facing murder charges in connection to a body found on Tuesday September 17, 2019 in Raleigh County.

On Saturday, September 21, detectives with the Raleigh County Sheriffs Office arrested 24-year-old Franklin Wayne Yancey and 54-year-old William Garretson, both from Glen Morgan, for the murder of Roy Lee Barnes III.

They are being held at the Southern Regional awaiting arraignment.

Stay with 59 News for more details on this developing story.


WHITBY, WV (WVNS) — 9/20/19 9:40 a.m. UPDATE: Sheriff Scott Van Meter confirmed the identity of the body that was found in Whitby on Tuesday, September 17, 2019.

He said the body is that of 20-year-old Roy Lee Barnes III of Crab Orchard. Van Meter said he died from an apparent gunshot wound.

Further details are limited at this time.

Anyone with additional information is urged to call the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office at (304) 255-9300.


UPDATE: September 19, 2019 6:30 p.m. The investigation continues after deputies find a body in the woods on Tuesday, September 17, 2019.

A person was found dead near a lonely road on top of a mountain, but who they were and what happened to them is still unknown. Raleigh County Sheriff Scott Van Meter said the call came in on Tuesday.

“We received the call Tuesday late afternoon of a possible body in a wooded area in Whitby, WV,” Van Meter said. “Deputies and also some state troopers responded and that’s where we discovered the body.”

While deputies have not released an identity, family members told 59News they last saw the person at Sullivan Hill on Friday, September 13, 2019. The body was found off East Whitby Road.

While the area seems remote in the daylight, locals who travel the road after sundown said they never know who or what they might run into. One local said he often sees parked cars and people partying in the wide spots late at night.

How did this person end up there? Van Meter said that is one of the many questions deputies are still working to answer.

“Our detective bureau and our deputies are actively investigating what happened to this individual, and why they were put in this area,” said Van Meter.

The body was taken to the West Virginia State Medical Examiner’s Office for further analysis.

Two months ago, deputies found skeletal remains only about 10 miles away in Surveyor, WV. Van Meter said that body still has not been identified.


WHITBY, WV (WVNS) ORIGINAL September 18, 2019 8:46 a.m. — Deputies are investigating after a body was found in a wooded area in Raleigh County.

Raleigh County Sheriff Scott Van Meter confirms the body was found Tuesday evening, September 17, 2019, in Whitby.

Details are extremely limited at this time, the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office is handling the investigation.

Stay with 59 News as we continue to follow this developing story.

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