Ronnie Rush Murder Trial Nearly Sabbotaged Again By State Trooper

Reprinted form Hurherald:


By Bob Weaver

Calhoun Prosecutor Matt Minney was completing his case against accused murderer Ronnie Allen Rush yesterday in Ripley, when Rush’s attorneys moved for a mistrial.

Attorneys Teresa Monk and Rocky Holmes said Cpl. Doug Starcher of the WV State Police talked with at least four jurors during a lunch break, and also conversed with members of the Rush family.

Monk told Judge Evans “There is more than the appearance of impropriety…this jury is now tainted.”

Judge Evans stopped the trial, and interviewed the principal parties involved, including at least four of the jurors who conversed with the officer during the break.

Cpl. Starcher was placed on the witness stand, testifying the conversation was “small talk” about hunting and WVU football, acknowledging he knew the individuals were jurors.

Starcher said he was asked a question regarding another issue by one or more members of the Rush family.

The jurors told the court they talked with Starcher about football and deer hunting, although two of the jurors said they were part of a conversation regarding another state policeman who was an acquaintance of Cpl. Starcher, a friend of one of the jurors.

The four jurors were interviewed independently from their fellow jurors, saying some of the lunch conversation lasted about 15 minutes.

Judge Evans told the court “This is a high stakes trial, with concerns about even the look of impropriety,” saying it is inappropriate for a witness (Starcher) to talk with jurors.

“Cpl. Starcher is an important witness for the state,” Evans said, expressing concern about the conversation between Starcher and a juror regarding a mutual acquaintance.

Prosecutor Minney said “No line was crossed to indicate the need for a re-trial.”

Defense attorney Monk told the court that the rules were not being followed, with a witness (Starcher) and jurors communicating, indicating that if she and co-counsel Holmes had commiserated with the jurors, a mistrial would likely be declared.

Judge Evans denied the motion for a mistrial, saying he did not hear any testimony regarding a discussion of matters related to the case.

“We’re all human beings. There are no perfect trials,” he said.

Rush, now 21, is being re-tried for the double murder of 69-year-old Warden Groves and 60-year-old Mary Hicks, while they slept in their Sand Ridge community home in May 2003. He was 16 at the time.

The re-trial was ordered by the WV Supreme Court after the WV State Police bungled the case. Rush’s public defenders Monk and Holmes appealed the case. Judge Thomas Evans III ordered a change of venue to Jackson County.

The couple was shot to death at close range while they were sleeping in separate beds. Rush had been living in their household. A considerable amount of money was discovered missing, some of which was discovered in a truck Rush was allegedly driving and later, hidden in a trash can in a house occupied by Rush’s parents.

Prosecutor Minney built a case against Rush for what he says is numerous inconsistencies and changes in his account of what happened, suggesting that jurors need to “follow the money.”

The trial is continuing today with closing arguments and could go to jury by afternoon.

Rush is being re-tried on the same charges he was convicted of by a Calhoun jury in 2004. Those charges include murder, robbery, burglary and conspiracy.

An effort to reach a plea agreement in the case against Rush failed earlier this year.


Here are some past exerpts from news articles relating to all the problems so far with this murder case:

The initial investigation was conducted by Trooper Doug Starcher and Sgt. Jeff Cooper. Monk indicates that officers gave contradictory testimony several different times throughout the trial.
During a hearing last week in Jackson County, defense attorney Teresa Monk said there are problems with missing money linked to the case, indicating the money had been in the custody of officers of the Grantsville Detachment of the State Police.
……Cpl. Doug Starcher testified Rush had a red place on his shoulder and red dots on his face, although defense attorney Shannon Baldwin said the gunpowder residue test was negative, and numerous samples taken from his clothing showed no blood stains.
The defense attorney reviewed police problems with the case, where a State Policeman said Sgt. Dale Fluharty interrupted a lie detector test and then became angry when Rush “lawyered up.”

She said the testimony indicated State Police ignored Rush’s request for an attorney, and a supervisor in Charleston asked the polygraph officer administering the test to not put this information in his report.


The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

19 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I would submit that the State Police are not getting proper training in procedure. I would submit that Trooper Doug Starcher has been on the force for many years and should KNOW what the proper court procedures are by now. I would submit that Colonel Lemmon of the Charleston Office SUPPORTS these acts of negligence by state troopers, as evidenced by his lack of positive action. I believe there are certain State Troopers who should RESIGN from their positions of power due to their inability to do their jobs correctly. And if they do not resign, then they should be fired! If these guys were surgeons, they would be losing patients regularly. HOW CAN THE STATE POLICE BE TRUSTED if they can do no better than this in a very important murder case? There just is not that much REAL crime around here. They should have PLENTY of time to get their ducks in a row. WHAT can be done?

  2. Why don’t YOU get involved and run for office, where YOU can do something about this. If you don’t get involved and try to change things, then do you have the right to sit around complaining? Oh, woe is me!

    Is there something in your past that would prevent you from running for a public office?

    It is very easy to sit around and take shots at various groups and individuals while remaining anonymous. Why don’t you tell everyone who you are so people can judge whether these complains are valid or just your personal axe to grind?

  3. We all know who she is. Where have you been?

    If she were in office where she could make changes, Calhoun would have no empty homes or rental units as everyone would want to live in such a wonderful place.

    Calhoununderground, we love you for all you do and all that you try to do for all your fellow citizens.

    A big thanks to you!!!

  4. Some of us are new to this site and do not know who she is, who is she?

  5. Each person has their place in the greater scheme of things. Each person’s fire and passion is as individual as their look. I do what I do because it fills a need in the community. I do a lot of other things as well, but the goal to all of it is to try to help make the world a better place. That is the best thing anyone can do.

    I feel I have no place in the current government of the time. It seems more like being stuck in the mud than anything else.
    Yes, I AM taking some things which are WRONG personally. I happen to be a direct decendent of one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, William Hooper, and I have studied a bit about how that all came about and some of the things the signers went thru because of what they did. Those men were true patriots, brave and intelligent, peaceful warriors risking their lives as much as any soldier, shaping the future and going AGAINST the TYRANNY of those who were in power at the time. It angers me to see how things have gone full circle right back to where they started, as if those men had wasted their time and risked their lives for nothing. And I see so few courageous people LIKE THAT any more.

    Whatever I do, I come by it honestly. It’s in the genetics I guess. My dad was a writer. He was very political as well. He was quite well known and respected in the area we lived, for not being afraid to speak his mind and say things that some people might not want to hear. His passion was protesting the VIETNAM WAR and living with NATURE. A very principled man, he would not own a gun, there was never a drop of alcohol in the house, and I never heard may parents have one single argument in the entire time I was growing up.

    Maybe it’s my destiny. But I feel like I have a family tradition to uphold.

    I have tried many times over my entire life to do something “respectable” with my energies, but nobody in THAT class of people seems to be interested. I am one of the three original founders of the Roane County Arts and Humanities Council for example. But nobody knows this. I’m not into popularity contests. Rest assured if the world as we know it should come to an end, government fell apart and people needed direction, I would be there with bells on HELPING. I’m the guy who creates happy things and events for others, makes music and shares it. I’m the one who picks up other people’s trash, and the one who would feed you and put you up if you were hungry and homeless. My interest in suits and high heels and endless meetings and power games is ZILCH. I’m only interested in getting at the truth of things, getting other people to THINK FOR THEMSELVES and question “the official story” instead of simply believing what they were told to believe by others, and leaving the world a little better than it was when I found it…

    But if you don’t know who I am, I ain’t tellin’.

  6. I can accept that. I just think you are painting all cops with the same brush. There are some good ones and some bad ones. You seem to go out of your way to focus a negative light on all police.

    I have never seen a positive story about the police, any police on your blog or any other Calhoun blog. Did you ever think that may be, just may be, if the police there, did not feel that the community resented them just for breathing, they may have a better attitude? Just a thought.

  7. “I can accept that. I just think you are painting all cops with the same brush”

    Maybe they all drink out of the same straw holding hands long into the midnight hour!

    “I have never seen a positive story about the police, any police on your blog or any other Calhoun blog”

    The above statement is “Bullshit” since, the Hot Toddy bust certainly said some positive comments about “Stephens”

    Actually some very positive comments.

    “What about” sounds a little Yankee to me!

    Oh and this was my favorite part:

    “if the police there, did not feel that the community resented them just for breathing, they may have a better attitude? ”

    You know Yankee, you sure talk funny!

    Starcher would unduly influence jurors aor LIE on the stand, whatever it took. Hell, it has been known for property, personal items and such to be stolen by the police or stolen by people they know …while the “defendant” is busy fighting some trumped up case, then the items are gone and the answer is, “well you know it’s been a long time now and we wouldn’t know where to start a lookin for those things!”

    Hey… What about?

    Hey, “what about my ass!”

    Maybe you should be mose e ing down the road a piece now, but don’t bother looking back, cuz that might just piss me off.

  8. The cops being stupid, evil, corrupt, and basically horrible is what got this blog started. Sorry, but it’s time us CITIZENS got some respect and were listened to.

    I’ve met exactly ONE “good” State Trooper in my life. I’m afraid they don’t last very long. The rest of them act like mind controlled zombies.

    Let them start acting human.

    OK, so the cops are VICTIMS of a society that feels the need to control EVEY LITTLE DETAIL of our existence. They are forced to go out and do the dirty work nobody else wants to do. They are victims of a system which dictates that they go after anyone not following the letter of “law”, regardless of how ridiculous that law is. They are victims of a government gone mad with power and are required to do the governments bidding. They are victims of an organization that does not train them properly, give them the necessary tools to deal with others in a positive manner, and requires them as part of their job to shoot to kill when in doubt. They are victims of their supervisor who creates bad situations for them if they do not follow orders. They are victims of their own JOBS.

    If I had a job like that, I WOULD QUIT. I would refuse. I would live in a cave and eat out of dumpsters rather than BE that kind of person.

  9. AND, Ronnie Rush was found guilty anyhow.

  10. I can see that I am wasting my time. You can’t fight ignorance, prejudice, and bigotry. Continue to sit around and complain. Do nothing about it except blog and commiserate with each other. Feel like you are making a difference because a few like-minded people get on here and tell you how great you are and what a good job you are doing.

    If you are not a part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. You get what you deserve.

  11. Oh, BTW, if the following statement is true, then you should be a widow, correct?

    …..requires them as part of their job to shoot to kill when in doubt……

  12. “If you are not a part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. You get what you deserve.”


    Hey what about…what about my ass!

    It’s easy to see somebody is getting to you, or why r u so disturbed? OH BY THE WAY, how the fuck do you know what it is… “we” are “doing about it”

    We could be planning dastardly and tragic deeds for all you know, or we could be complaining up the proper chain of command, or we could be taking things into our own hands, sorta like they did in this area in 1861 when Yankee troops were always wondering why someone just turned up missing to supper all of the sudden.

    You ain’t no different what about, so what about my ass!

    Also the “widow” comment seemed to me like a threat also, maybe you can stick those comments someplace where they might be found late for dinner….

    …maybe the great beyond where there ain’t no passing over, but the devil may have you for lunch the next day.

    In the mean time, mostly when we r talkin bout the widow, she is usually white, and mostly we are worried about having enough to last until next summer, when we
    all we have are the daily toppings to get us by until the last week in October.

    If ya all want to know what we’re worried bout, well that is pretty much it.

  13. My, my, such language! Does your mother know you talk like that?

  14. Well, I guess her mother knows she just kicked you butt, “What about”… that.

  15. Could-n-a said it better me-self…

  16. You are delusional. This is a blog. Nobody kicked anyone ass. If you think your little disertation was good, witty, or left me stinging, you are ignorant.

    I guess you have to blow your own horn when your intelligence is limited. Oh, well, if it makes you feel better then have at it!

    Here, I’ll go ahead and respond to your next post … Oh, that hurt, please stop, I can’t take your biting wit anymore, please stop…..

  17. “What about!” You are institutional! You licked Lunacy Lucy’s ASS! P U !! If you think your little dicked her tation left her stinging…you’re right! Lunacy Lucy is not very juicy (it’s all the pill poppin)

    I guess you have to blow your own little Winky when your attractiveness in limited. Oh well, if it makes you feel better, then have at it!

    Lets go ahead and hear what Lucy had to say,

    “Oh, that hurt, please stop, I can’t take your biting my tit anymore, please stop…..

  18. Bottom line time. People who have never been victimized in some way by the local state troopers do not have a clue. Therefore they have very little room to complain about those of us who have.

    Hitting below the belt goes nowhere but to hell.

    It is a STUNNING miracle that certain people are still alive after a still somewhat trusting person calls 9-11 for help which was PROMISED and then not delivered.

    People who do NOT WANT TO HEAR these stories, don’t need to be here. If a person does not want to hear what is reported, and does not want to be educated, but simply wants to fight a losing battle (losing due to the fact they have no clue…) then I say, GO AWAY, TROLL.

    Obviously this person WANTS to fight. The original post was simply reprints from the Hurherald of stories we have been following. That’s all. IF the police want GOOD things printed about them, they need to start DOING some newsworthy GOOD things. That’s all.

  19. 11/9/2007
    Alabama: Sober Diabetic Man Tasered, Accused of DUI
    Man having a diabetic attack faces DUI charges even though he had no alcohol in his system.

    Ozark Police in Ozark, Alabama on Tuesday used a taser on a sober man who was having a diabetic seizure. A trio of police cruisers were called to the scene of a black Nissan truck and trailer pulled over on the side of the road near the intersection of Highway 231 and Marley Mill Road at around 4pm. James Bludsworth, 54, a man with no criminal record, was was slumped over behind the wheel. Because of his condition he was not responsive to police commands.

    Police then fired tasers at the sick man three times. A police officer now says that he smelled alcohol on Bludsworth, even though later testing showed no trace of alcohol in his system. Ozark Police Chief Myron Williams also claims the sick man was “combative.” Instead of taking Bludsworth to medical care he was booked at Dale County Jail and charged with resisting arrest and driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). Bludsworth has no recollection of the incident and is free on $1000 bond.

    Police later dropped a charge against Bludsworth relating to an alleged towing infraction.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: