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Two accused murderers appear for arraignment

Both men indicted for first-degree murder in February appeared before a judge for their post-indictment arraignment Monday.

Michael Corney, 33, and Gary Smith II, 60, each pleaded not guilty before Judge Susan Tucker in Monongalia County Circuit Court on Monday.

Corney is accused of shooting Chadwick Malone to death in front of a house at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Pietro Street on Sept. 23, 2020. Corney’s wife told police he came back to the car to get his gun and none of the witnesses saw a fight before the shooting, a detective testified at his preliminary hearing. The murder weapon had not been found as of the preliminary hearing.

Smith is accused of killing his grandson’s mother, Alexa Randolph, who was last seen Jan. 28 outside her apartment in Greenmont. Her body was found the next day in the trunk of her SUV in a Walmart parking lot. Detectives said Smith provided “intimate information” about the crime and believe he killed her in the garage area of his home.

Both appeared by video from North Central Regional Jail where they are being held without bond. In cases where a possible sentence for an alleged crime is life in prison, magistrates cannot set bond as they can with other crimes. Bond must be set by a circuit court judge.

Judge Phillip Gaujot previously denied a motion by Corney’s attorney, Brandson Shumaker, to set his bond at $100,000. Shumaker pointed out Corney’s ties to the community and said he could return to the job he had before he was arrested to pay for home confinement.

Prosecutor Perri DeChristopher opposed because of Corney’s criminal history which includes a previous violent offense.  

Smith has not yet had a bond hearing before a circuit court judge in an attempt to set bond. A request was not made by his attorney, Chris Wilson, Monday.

Both Shumaker and Wilson appeared in person, as did 22 other people indicted by the February Monongalia County grand jury and their attorneys. A further 11 defendants appeared from jail.

All pleaded not guilty.

Tucker issued arrest warrants for Joshua R. Watson, Rocky Burgess, and Christopher Shuttlesworth. All three were scheduled for arraignment but did not show.

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