March 12, 2020 2:50 p.m. UPDATE: PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) — The jury reached a verdict in the trial of Jan Williams.
The jury found Williams guilty of Second Degree Murder. He faces up to 40 years in prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 26, 2020.
March 11, 2020 7 p.m. UPDATE: PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) — The defense rested its case in less than two hours on day-two of Jan Williams’ trial. He is accused of shooting and killing Jason Varney back in October of 2018.
The jury will hear closing arguments on Thursday, March 12, 2020.
PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) — In Mercer County, trial began Tuesday, March 10, 2020 for Jan Williams, who is charged with first degree murder.
Muffled sobs echoed in the courtroom as investigators held up the victims blood soaked t-shirt with a bullet hole in the back. Mercer County prosecuting attorney, George Sitler, said violence in the community is growing.
“We have a continuous string of violent incidents, gunshot wounds, killings that arise from our drug problem and it seems to be accelerating. Especially in relation to the growth of methamphetamine distribution in our county.”
Jan Williams is accused of shooting and killing Jason Varney in October of 2018. Investigators believe the shooting was related to a drug deal that happened earlier that day.
According to the medical examiner, Varney suffered two gun shot wounds, one to his back and one to his arm. He also tested positive for narcotics, but they did not contribute to his death, which was caused by the gunshots.
Prosecutors said hours before the shooting, Williams sold Varney narcotics. Varney’s girlfriend told investigators, Varney scammed Williams by paying for the drugs with counterfeit money.
“Varney paid Williams in counterfeit currency and then Williams came to seek Varney out to seek vengeance or compensation for the counterfeit currency,” said Sitler.
Investigators later found a counterfeit 100 dollar bill in Williams wallet. They also found video surveillance of Williams fleeing the scene, and recovered the gun in the grass nearby. A pawnshop owner confirmed the gun was the same one Williams purchased from the shop two weeks before the murder.
Eight witnesses took the stand Tuesday, March 10, 2020, including Varney’s girlfriend who claims she saw Williams shoot Varney. Trial will continue Wednesday.