Owens charged with murder following death

PARKERSBURG – A man who died Wednesday morning after reportedly being struck on the head during an altercation had been released from home confinement just the day before, an investigator said.

Jeffrey Allen Hughart, 46, 1317 Staunton Ave., died at Camden Clark Medical Center from injuries received in an incident at 511 Happy Valley Lane, Wood County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Shawn Graham said. Hughart was struck in the head with an object, collapsed into unconsciousness, then was taken in a pickup truck to his residence on Staunton Avenue where he was left in the yard, Graham said.

Larry Gale Owens, 55, 511 Happy Valley Lane, and Hughart got into an altercation at Owens’ residence, Graham said. Both men knew each other, Graham said.

Owens was charged with murder and appeared before Wood County Magistrate Brenda K. Marshall, who ordered Owens held until an appearance before a circuit court judge to set bond on the capital charge. Marshall appointed Parkersburg lawyer Travis Sayre to represent Owens.

According to the complaint in magistrate court, Owens said Hughart picked up a piece of white-colored pipe and confronted him. Owens then got a piece of pipe or wood and struck Hughart, who dropped to the ground unconscious, according to the complaint.

Owens then helped load Hughart into the back of his white Dodge truck. Hughart was taken to the vicinity of his residence on Staunton where he was dumped out of the truck, according to the complaint.

Hughart, Owens and others were partying at the Happy Valley Lane residence, Graham said. An investigation is under way to determine if charges will be levied against the others who reportedly placed him in the truck, he said.

The investigation started around midnight when the Parkersburg Police Department was dispatched to Staunton Avenue on a report of an unresponsive man in the yard of a residence there, Police Chief Joe Martin said. The man was found by a neighbor. Martin said.

“At that point he wasn’t dead,” Martin said.

After police arrived, Hughart was taken to Camden Clark where he later died, Martin said.

Investigators ascertained his identity and contacted a friend, who said she last saw him when she dropped him off at a residence on Happy Valley Lane, Martin said. Detectives also determined a white truck was in the area after viewing video from nearby security cameras, he said.

Officers went to the residence outside the city limits at Happy Valley Lane, saw the truck and asked if they could search the house, to which they were given permission, Martin said. Blood was found in the house and officers determined the incident occurred there, so the sheriff’s department was notified, Martin said.

Hughart was released from home confinement on Tuesday, Graham said. He served 90 days for driving on a license suspended for DUI, Graham said.