PARKERSBURG - Testimony began Wednesday in Wood County Circuit Court in the case of a Washington County man charged with a 2010 murder.
Brent Michael Radabaugh, 34, of Belpre, in custody at the North Central Regional Jail, was charged with the April 13, 2010, murder of Rebecca Hoyler.
In opening statements, Wood County Assistant Prosecutor Pat Lefebure said Hoyler was stabbed multiple times. He said her major arteries were stabbed in addition to 10 cuts on other parts of her body. He said the cuts to her hands showed she tried to defend herself from her attacker.
Photo by Jeffrey Saulton
Brent Michael Radabaugh, right, and his attorney, George Cosenza, left, listen during testimony in Radabaugh’s trial Wednesday in Wood County Circuit Court.
Lefebure said Hoyler and Radabaugh had been together on April 12 and 13, the day her body was found. He said they were with others. He said on the day she died Hoyler had taken money from her bank account to pay Radabaugh's drug debts. Surveillance video placed both at a 7-Eleven store, a local bank and a credit union, Lefebure said.
During the day, Lefebure said, Hoyler wrote checks to withdraw $50 and later $220 from her account at the credit union. Later Radabaugh tried to cash a check on the account and was told there was not enough money in the account to cover the amount, he said.
Lefebure said when Radabaugh was told of Hoyler's death he seemed to be shocked. He said Hoyler's car was gone from her home and Radabaugh denied he took the car.
Later Radabaugh told police he did take the car and parked it a few blocks from Hoyler's house, Lefebure said.
Between 1 and 1:15 p.m., Radabaugh was seen by a neighbor leaving Hoyler's house carrying a garbage bag. Lefebure said police have not found a murder weapon or the clothes Radabaugh was wearing earlier in the day.
In his statements Radabaugh's attorney George Cosenza said Radabaugh and Hoyler did not really know each other. He said they met on April 10 at the home of Buzzy Thornton. Cosenza said Hoyler had been involved in drugs and had two convictions for delivery of a controlled substance, one in Columbus and one in Wood County.
Cosenza said there was not evidence of a sexual relationship between Radabaugh and Hoyler in the two days they were together.
"Their relationship was about drugs and trying to get the money to get more," he said. "Her killer is still out there somewhere."
Cosenza said Hoyler had been a confidential informant for the Parkersburg Narcotics and Violent Crimes Task Force and she had locks changed and added to her home in March and April. He said when Hoyler learned Radabaugh had no more money she asked him to leave.
Cosenza said there was no way Radabaugh had time to kill Hoyler, clean himself up and gather his belongings in the time frame the state was using. He said cell phone records showed Hoyler had made calls until 1:15 p.m. and the neighbor said she spotted Radabaugh leaving the house between 1 and 1:30 p.m.
Cosenza said the state's witness on the items in the bag was not credible. He said police went to Thornton's residence and he said he knew nothing of the situation.
However, after Thornton was indicted on eight charges of second-offense delivery of a controlled substance and delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of an elementary school he entered a plea agreement with the state, after telling officials he saw a bloody knife and clothing in the bag, Cosenza said.
Cosenza said a knife found at the scene was sent to the state police crime lab but was never tested. He said photos of a cut on Radabaugh's thumb that was consistent with a cut from a glass crack pipe breaking were taken but have since disappeared. In an interview police said they did not believe Radabaugh's claim of how he was cut, Cosenza said.
Two witnesses testified early Wednesday in the circuit court trial.
Mary Edwards, Hoyler's mother, said her daughter had been clean of drugs for five years but she did not know she had gone back to abusing drugs.
Edwards said on the day her daughter was murdered, she had been very happy and had gone home to get some rest before going to work at 3:30 p.m. Edwards said she always called her daughter to get her up to get ready, but on that day there was no answer after repeated calls.
Edwards said she sent her son Larry Edwards to the house and he found her body. Edwards said he called her on the radio in his tow truck and she called 911.
A friend of Hoyler's, Sabrina Thomas, testified she was with Hoyler hours before she died. She said she and others were at the house where they met Hoyler and Radabaugh as they arrived.
Thomas said Hoyler and Radabaugh went upstairs. She said she and the others did not hear anything but Hoyler and Radabaugh left claiming they wanted to buy cigarettes. She said after they returned she asked them to leave, saying she and Radabaugh were arguing.
When asked if they were using cocaine, Thomas said she did not know.