Search warrants shed light on murder investigaton
by Allen Worrell
According to search warrants and other court documents, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office has entered approximately 40 pieces of evidence in the investigation that led to a Woodlawn man being charged with first-degree murder in the Feb. 8 shooting death of Delphie Wiley.
Jesse James Owens, 30, of Woodlawn, has been charged with first-degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon in Wiley’s death.
The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office began searching for an unidentified person after receiving a call of a possible shooting Feb. 8 at 90 Boot Jack Drive. Willey was reported missing the next day when she did not show up for her shift at Burger King in Hillsville. Willey’s body was found a little before 7 p.m. on Feb. 9 by a person walking on Holly Ridge Road in Cana. Owens was arrested and charged with the two firearm offenses the night of Feb. 8. He was later charged with first-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of murder.
According to Carroll County court records, Deputy Barry Lineberry of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office responded to call Feb. 8 of a possible homicide that had been called in by a witness in the area of Boot Jack Drive in Woodlawn.
“Deputy Lineberry was able to locate a blood drag trail from a driveway that leads to and upon an open front porch of a blue and white mobile home, which is a singlewide,” the court records show. “The blood drag trail leads through the open front door of the white and blue singlewide trailer into the open room and then leading into a puddle of blood.”
Evidence collected from Owens’ residence of 90 Boot Jack Drive are listed as a shoe cast, a tire cast, swabs taken for DNA testing from the driveway, a front porch wooden bench and the living room vinyl floor, a .22 caliber round, two shell casings from the outside porch, two white socks, a mop beside a gun cabinet, boots, shell casings from the bathroom, a “blood or red dirt sample” in the driveway, a board from the front porch, vinyl flooring in the living room, a .22 rifle in the gun cabinet “Marlin Model 60,” rounds in the rifle from the gun cabinet, swabs taken for DNA testing from the living room and kitchen light switches, five beer cans from the living room, a shell casing from a small window between the kitchen and living room, a hair brush, glasses from the table in the living room, and another shell casing close to the house.
Another search warrant for 209 Virginia Street in Hillsville, where Owens was located after the report of the possible homicide, shows investigators requested permission to search for “any evidence to include DNA, personal effects related to the possible homicide on Bootjack Drive, blood, hair, fiber, trace evidence and weapons that could have been used in the possible commission of the alleged homicide.”
Another search warrant shows Carroll authorities asked for permission to search a gray Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck with a white-colored camper shell located on Virginia Street that night. The truck also had deer antlers tied to the front grill area.
Items Carroll law enforcement officials collected from the truck included a Natural Light beer can from the driver’s side floorboard, a black ball cap, two boots sized 10.5 in the seat, a black glove, a camo glove, a black handled knife, a red substance, a black coat on the bed next to the tailgate, swabs from the steering wheel, tailgate, bed of the truck, control of steering wheel, control of tailgate, and a wooden stick in the bed of the truck.
Another search warrant was entered to search Owens at New River Valley Regional Jail in Dublin to take DNA samples via buccal swap.
Owens is scheduled to appear in Carroll County General District Court on March 22 on all four charges. According to court records, defense attorney Jonathan Venzie will represent Owens, who is in custody at New River Valley Regional Jail.
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