Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.
By The Associated Press
Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, 7:36 p.m.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Attorneys for a 17-year-old West Virginia girl charged with the premeditated stabbing death of her former best friend say she can't get a fair trial in Monongalia County, so they want it delayed and relocated.
Attorney Michael Benninger filed several motions in Shelia Eddy's looming first-degree murder trial this week, including one that asks a judge to deny the use of a confession from her alleged accomplice, Rachel Shoaf.
Prosecutors say Eddy and Shoaf lured 16-year-old University High School honors student Skylar Neese out of her Star City home last summer, stabbed her for reasons that have never been clear and hid her body under some branches just across the state line in Pennsylvania.
Shoaf, who has said only that she and Eddy no longer wanted to be friends with Neese, confessed to the plot and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in May. But Benninger says she was under extreme mental distress when she named Eddy as her co-conspirator, and prosecutors should not be able to use her statements.
The court filings demand copies of all statements and evidence that Shoaf gave police, as well as her mental health records.
Benninger says Shoaf was sent to a mental health facility before she confessed, and that suggests her testimony is unreliable. That also violates Eddy's constitutional right to due process, he argues.
Neese had been missing for months when the break in the case came Jan. 3. Prosecutors say that's when Shoaf finally told investigators the truth — and where to find the body.
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