By: Ralph B. Davisrdavis@civitasmedia.com
January 15, 2013
WILLIAMSON — A man charged with concealment of a deceased human body and conspiracy in connection with the murder of a Mingo County woman that ended with her body being placed inside her vehicle and pushed into Laurel Lake appeared in Mingo County Magistrate Court for a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, and probable cause was found by Chief Magistrate Dallas Toler to have the case bound over to the grand jury.
Gregory Medley, 44, of Lenore, was arrested on Jan 5, 2013, after allegedly admitting to troopers with the Williamson Detachment of the West Virginia State Police (WVSP) that he had traveled to Laurel Lake on Dec. 30th at the request of his brother, Donald Kevin Medley, to help dispose of the body of Evelyn Joyce Farnum, 55, of Laurel Creek, whom his brother had beat and choked to death earlier that evening at the home they shared.
WVSP Trooper J.J. Dean III, the lead investigator in the case, provided testimony for the prosecution during the preliminary hearing, and explained how the details fell into place and played out that led them to question the two brothers in Furnam’s disappearance, and provided additional details about the murder that had not previously been provided to the media or to the public. Family members of Furnam were present for the hearing. Prosecuting Attorney C. Michael Sparks represented the state and was assisted by Justin Marcum. Attorney Paul Montgomery served as defense counsel.
Sparks asked Trooper Dean if he had questioned Medley prior to his arrest and he replied that he had not – that Trooper Matheny conducted that portion of the investigation. Dean stated that Donald and Gregory came to their office of their own free will after being asked to do so, and were not under arrest at that time. Transportation was provided by the WVSP, and a pat-down of the brothers was conducted to make certain neither were carrying weapons of any sort, and said that marijuana was found in Gregory’s pocket.
During the recorded interview with Gregory, he is said to have told Trooper Matheny that his brother Donald had put Evelyn Furnam’s body into her vehicle, a black 2003 Jeep Liberty, and stopped by his house the evening of Dec. 30th,, asking him to help dispose of the corpse.
Gregory allegedly told the trooper that he left his residence with another individual and heading toward the lake to meet his brother. The other party with Gregory had spoken with the WVSP prior to the interviews conducted with the two brothers, and told the officers that Gregory told him while they were driving that he “had to help his brother get rid of a body”, and that Donald was going to pay him $50 if he agreed to assist.
During his questioning, Gregory allegedly admitted to the trooper that he and his friend had drove to Laurel Lake and said when they arrived, Donald was already in the process of shoving the 2003 Jeep Liberty containing Furnam’s body into the waters.
Trooper Dean gave testimony that Donald confessed to the murder while being questioned on Jan. 5th, saying during a recorded interview that while arguing with Furnam (who was his cousin) he lost his temper and “grabbed her around the throat with his right hand and began beating her in the head with his left hand, choking her until she was dead.” The defendant reportedly told the troopers that he continued to strike the victim, even after she was deceased.
The WVSP and the Mingo County Sheriff’s Department had been searching for Furnam after she was reported missing by family members on New Year’s Eve. Donald, who murdered Furnam, was one of those interviewed about the disappearance and told police she had left their residence the evening of the 30th in her Jeep, but had not taken her purse, cell phone, cigarettes or other personal items with her, which sent up a red flag for the investigating officers. Furnam’s daughter told the WVSP that her mother had left home in the past but said she always took clothing, etc., with her. This time was very different.
After the eye witness came forth with the information concerning what he has seen and heard, the investigation immediately turned from a search to a recovery mission and a homicide. Sonar equipment was used to locate the vehicle at the bottom of the lake and dive teams were on the scene the next morning to retrieve the Jeep containing the body. The corpse was sent to the WV State Medical Examiner’s office for an autopsy, which the results of are not yet available.
Donald Medley waived his right to a preliminary hearing in magistrate court on Tuesday and remains behind bars without bond, charged with 1st degree murder, concealment of a deceased human body and conspiracy. He is represented by Attorney Wes White.
Gregory will remain incarcerated in the Southwestern Regional Jail on a $200,000 bond, which was not lowered as requested by his legal counsel. Montgomery asked Chief Magistrate Toler for a bond reduction from $100,000 on each count to only $1,000 for each, which was denied. Montgomery will now have to make the request in Mingo County Circuit Court, where both defendants will make their next appearance.