(06/09/2005)
Neighbor testifies in murder hearings

By David Hedges Publisher
TIMES RECORD-ROANE COUNTY REPORTER

Police spoke to two of the suspects who allegedly beat a Spencer man to death just before they drove off and dumped his body.

At the time police did not know the man's body was inside the car next to where they were asking the suspects about his whereabouts.

All three of the persons charged in the beating death of a Spencer man saw their cases sent to circuit court last week following preliminary hearings.

A neighbor who testified in the hearings said he saw three people kicking and beating a limp body before dragging it to the car. After being questioned by police, the three drove off in the same car.

When the trio returned a few hours later they weren't carrying the body, the neighbor said. Instead they had two cases of beer.

While they were gone they allegedly continued beating Daniel Lee Burns, cut off his pinky finger and dumped his body near a culvert.

Jeffrey Matthews testified last week at preliminary hearings involving the beating death of the 51-year-old Burns, whose body was found along Lick Fork Road.

Before Burns died, police say he was beaten by Joey Hicks, 27, and his wife, 26-year-old Crystal Hicks, at the couple's residence at 511 Market St.

The couple, along with Raymond Elswick, 40, of West Main St., also an alleged participant in the beating, have been charged with murder.

All are being held without bond in the regional jail.

Crystal Hicks waived her right to a preliminary hearing Friday. She is being represented by the public defenders' office.

Her husband, represented by Spencer attorney Drew Patton, had a hearing Friday, one day after a hearing for Elswick, represented by Grantsville attorney Kevin Postalwait.

Magistrate Denver Gandee Jr. presided over both hearings and found probable cause to send the cases on to circuit court.

The same witnesses, Matthews and Trooper J.K. Cox of the State Police detachment in Spencer, testified at both hearings.

Police said the Hickses and Elswick hit and kicked Burns inside the Hickses' residence and in the yard. The beating took place on Thursday night of Memorial Day weekend ... Read the rest of the story   www.thetimesrecord.net


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