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Bond reduced in cinder block death

Mar. 01, 2013 @ 11:30 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Bond was reduced Friday in the case of a man accused of using a cinder block to kill a man.

An indictment charges Shane Ray McCaffrey, 25, of Huntington, with voluntary manslaughter -- a downgrade from the initial charge of murder.

Cabell Circuit Judge Alfred Ferguson acknowledged the change Friday, reducing McCaffrey's bond from $500,000 to $25,000. It was McCaffrey's first court appearance since being arraigned. The trial could begin as early as May 23.

The case stems from the August 2012 death of Howard Vernon Lemaster, 49. He died Aug. 25, days after being hit in the head with a chunk of cinder block Aug. 20 in the backyard of his residence in the 200 block of Adams Avenue.

A Huntington Police lieutenant testified in September that Lemaster's injury ended both a night of heavy drinking and a violent argument between McCaffrey and his brother.

Lemaster, the evening's host, intervened in the argument by grabbing a sledgehammer, holding it at his chest and walking toward McCaffrey and telling him to leave. The lieutenant testified that McCaffrey backed toward the edge of Lemaster's property, picked up the 5-pound chunk of cinder block and threw it.

McCaffrey's attorney, Matthew Vital, calls that an act of self-defense. His side is still waiting for medical records and an autopsy report in the case.

Follow Curtis Johnson via Twitter @curtisjohnsonHD and http://facebook.com/curtisjohnsonHD.

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