State of W. Va. v. Thomas MacPhee

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Thomas MacPhee appeals his McDowell County jury conviction for the first degree murder of Lori Keaton. MacPhee argues that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to convict him. He asserts that his exculpatory statement was not rebutted by the State. MacPhee alleged that while he was outside on the front porch, another individual, Danny England, killed Lori Keaton during an argument. MacPhee asserts that Danny England threatened him into assisting with disposal of the body and the victim's car. Although the body was never found, the State did locate a site with personal effects from the victim, and also located her car. MacPhee admits he disposed of the car, and does not appeal his grand larceny conviction. MacPhee argues that he was an outsider from New Jersey who was convicted by a McDowell County jury based upon insufficient evidence and improper argument by the prosecutor. In response, the State disputes that MacPhee's statement is exculpatory, and also points out that MacPhee denied involvement and only gave the statement implicating Danny England when he was confronted with physical evidence. The State asserts that there was ample circumstantial evidence to sustain the conviction. (Thomas MacPhee is represented by E. Taylor George and Robert C. Catlett, Assistant Public Defenders, Kanawha County Public Defender Office, Charleston WV. The State of West Virginia is represented by Sidney H. Bell, Prosecuting Attorney of McDowell County. )