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Tire slashing suspect says he was high, fighting goblins

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Authorities say the young man at the center of South Charleston's mass tire slashings told them he was high on psychedelic mushrooms at the time and thought he was battling other-worldly creatures.

"He told them he thought he was playing some Japanese anime cartoon or game and was stabbing goblins or something," said Bob Houck, South Charleston's assistant chief of police.

A second person also was arrested in the pair of incidents, which left some 70 vehicles in two South Charleston neighborhoods with flat tires. Jocelyn Melin, 22, of South Charleston, was arrested late Monday night and charged with misdemeanor destruction of property.

Houck said Melin was with David Williams, 21, Saturday night when more than 33 vehicles were hit in the residential area near the Dunbar Toll Bridge. He said the two were drinking and hanging out Saturday night. It wasn't immediately clear what their relationship was.

Detectives believe Melin damaged only a few of the vehicles, leading them to charge her with a misdemeanor offense.

"They were just walking along jabbing tires," Houck said.

Williams, of Third Avenue, was arrested Monday afternoon and charged with felony destruction of property because the total damage was more than $2,500.

Officers are also tying him to another 37 vehicles that were reported Thursday morning with slashed tires. Those vehicles were in the area of King Street and Glendale Avenue off Montrose Drive.   

Houck said Williams told officers during an interview he ingested mushrooms before the first round of slashings.

Vehicles reported with damage Sunday morning were in the areas of Ohio and Kentucky streets and Kanawha Avenue.

Cpl. J.F. Amburgey spoke to Williams in the 5100 block of Ohio Street at about 3:25 a.m. Sunday, according to a complaint filed in Kanawha Magistrate Court.

Officers obtained video surveillance from a Spring Hill area physician's office where vehicles parked on the lot also were vandalized.

Patrolman J.K. Halstead wrote in the complaint that the video showed a person puncturing tires. Amburgey identified Williams as the man in the video on Monday.

Houck did not expect any other arrests.

The police department commended Halstead and Amburgey in a Facebook post for their quick work.

Melin was free on bond Tuesday and is scheduled to appear Sept. 23 in South Charleston Municipal Court. Williams remains at South Central Regional Jail on $10,000 cash-only bond.

Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at or 304-348-4850.




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