Dreyfuse Seeks Dismissal of 2012 Murder Indictment

Lawrence J. Smith

Hamlin – Based on fabricated testimony by the investigating officer, the man convicted in the 2012 bludgeoning death of a West Huntington man says he should’ve never gone to trial let alone spend the next decade in prison.

Edward Jesse Dreyfuse returned to court Friday, Feb. 11 to argue for vacation of his October 2013 conviction for the murder of Otis Clay, Jr.  In his petition for habeas corpus, Dreyfuse argued that Huntington Police Officer Ryan Bentley testified falsely to the grand jury Clay died as a direct result of skull fractures suffered by Dreyfuse beating him with a baseball bat at Clay’s West Washington Ave. home on April 9, 2012.

Former Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants, Dreyfuse’s stand-by attorney, argued Bentley’s testimony to the June 2012 were prejudicial to Dreyfuse as they were “intentional” and “material.”  As he had a copy of the autopsy report, Plants said Bentley failed to inform the grand jury that not only did Clay have any head trauma, but he also died nearly a month later due of cardiac arrest following two surgeries.

“The causation was super-important to that grand jury,” Plants said. “What sometimes is equally important is what we do or say, but what we don’t do or say when we have the opportunity to do or say.”

Dreyfuse added the falsity regarding his beating of Clay carried over into his trial when then-Cabell County Prosecuting Attorney put a witness on the stand to testify he  wiped brain matter, and skull fragments from the home

“Not only was it elicited,” Drefuse said, “It was exploited.”

“You can’t support a lie with a lie,” he added.

In December 2013, then-Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin appointed Chiles to fill the vacancy of Judge David Pancake.  Chiles successfully ran in 2014 to fill Pancake’s unexpired term and in 2016 for a full-term as judge.

In rebuttal, Special Prosecutor Jack Stevens Plants’ and Dreyfuse’s arguments “ludicrious” and “a matter of theater” as there are no grounds to challenge an indictment post-conviction.  If the indictment was faulty, Steven said, then Dreyfuse’s attorney should have challenged it prior to trial.

“Once a jury verdict exists, any grand jury indictment, for all intents and purposes is gone.”

“He got the maximum any citizen of West Virginia could get,” Stevens added. “He got a jury trial.”

After thanking them for their legal research, and arguments, Special Judge Jay Hoke asked Plants and Stevens to submit findings of fact and conclusions for law to review, and set April 22 for a follow-up hearing to discuss them before rendering a decision.

An audio recording of the hearing is available on SoundCloud.