- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 25, 2020

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) - A West Virginia man was found not guilty of fatally slashing his coworker’s neck and body.

A jury in Huntington acquitted Ronald Amory Witherel, 42, of murder charges Monday in the July 2017 attack on David Ralph, The Herald-Dispatch reported.

Ralph’s girlfriend told police she awoke to a noise early that morning and saw her boyfriend’s employee, Witherel, inside the couple’s shared home. She said he left while she was tending to Ralph’s four fatal cuts.

Witherel’s girlfriend told police Witherel and Ralph had been driven to the home earlier that night by two other men, the same ones who later accused him of murder, according to the newspaper. One of the men also directed detectives to bloody jeans and shoes in a garbage can in South Point, Ohio.

Jurors sided with the defense, who blamed an ineffective investigation by police for implicating Witherel, arguing authorities did not do enough to investigate the other men who were present.

Witherel still faces a first-degree robbery trial in August on accusations he stole from Ralph’s business partner about a week before Ralph’s death, the newspaper said.

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