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Police find gun in teen's vehicle

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A Charleston teenager who was acquitted for a double murder was arrested when police found him carrying a concealed weapon without a permit.

James Phillip Daugherty, 18, of Wertz Avenue was taken into custody early Wednesday during a traffic stop in Dunbar.

Local police were on the lookout Wednesday morning for a vehicle involved in a disturbance at the Nitro Walmart. Officers were warned that a passenger in the vehicle was believed to have had a gun, according to a complaint filed in Kanawha Magistrate Court.

Dispatchers advised Dunbar Cpl. C.M. Shafer that the vehicle was seen getting off Interstate 64 at Dunbar possibly heading toward Sixth Street. Shafer found the car on Dunbar Avenue and followed it to Sixth Street where he pulled the vehicle over.   

A woman riding in the backseat, identified as Kara Workman of Dunbar, got out of the car and was ordered back to the cruiser. Workman told officers her friend, identified only as Taylor, and Taylor's boyfriend, identified as Daugherty, were in the car.

Daugherty was sitting in the front passenger seat while Taylor was behind the wheel. Both Daugherty and his girlfriend were searched. When officers asked if there were any weapons in the car Daugherty put his head down and Taylor told officers "there better not be," the complaint said.

Patrolman E. Whitehead looked in the opened doors of the car and saw a gun handle under the front passenger seat. The pistol was loaded with four rounds and it appeared the serial number had been removed. That often happens when a gun is stolen, police said.

Jurors acquitted Daugherty last March of the double murder of Bruce Duling and Carrier Pontier. The two were shot dead in a vehicle found on Chesterfield Avenue in Kanawha City on a snowy February 2010 morning.

Daugherty, a juvenile at the time, was arrested for the murders. The prosecution built the case on drugs, claiming Daughtery shot the pair after they called him enraged that he'd sold them fake crack.

After hearing testimony from witnesses, including one who admitted he initially lied to authorities and "pleaded the fifth," in fear of self-incrimination, when asked about drug activity, jurors found Daugherty, who was then 17, not guilty.  

Daugherty was charged with carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. He is being held at South Central Regional Jail.

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


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