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Man electrocuted after shooting down power lines with rifle

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - One Fayette County man is dead after he and an accomplice tried to steal copper wire by shooting down high-tension power lines with a rifle, authorities said.

Fayette deputies and rangers from the National Parks Service found the man's body tangled up in downed lines Wednesday morning in the Beury Mountain Wildlife Management Area near Thurmond. The apparent cause of death was electrocution.

The remote area where the body was discovered is near Babcock State Park.  

Emergency dispatchers sent officers to the area after a 911 call.

The man's name has not been released, according to a statement from the sheriff's department.

Authorities have arrested Charles Raymond Norris, 22, of Oak Hill, saying he was also involved in the incident. They believe the two men used a rifle to shoot down the lines, and that the unidentified man must have touched a live line at some point, causing electrocution.

Deputies would only confirm the other man was a Fayette County resident. They gave no further details, saying they were working to notify his family members of his death.

The state Medical Examiner's Office will perform an autopsy.

Norris was charged with attempt to commit a felony, conspiracy to commit a felony and disruption of a public utility. He was set to be arraigned in Fayette Magistrate Court Wednesday evening.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information can contact Fayette deputies at 304-574-4216 or Crime Stoppers at 304-255-7867. Tips also may be submitted online via the department's website at or on Facebook.

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