HUNTINGTON — The trial of a man accused of murder in the 2017 shooting death of a youth football coach in Huntington has been continued again.
Antwon Rayshawn Starkey, 34, is charged with murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm in the death of KaFrederick “Bae Bae” McEachin, 25, who was killed Dec. 12, 2017, at Huntington Mart on Hal Greer Boulevard in broad daylight.
Starkey was set to go to trial this week ahead of the four-year anniversary of the killing, but defense attorneys Abe Saad and Todd Meadows asked for a continuance last week, stating they received last-minute documents, an amended medical examination report and videos last week, which they need time to review.
Assistant prosecutor Lauren Plymale said the trial, which has been continued about half a dozen times, needed to go forward.
“We are coming up on the four-year anniversary of his murder,” she said. “They need justice.”
Saad said it was his duty to seek the continuance to make sure his client got a fair chance. He referred to a Supreme Court decision recently returned in a case that essentially said a defendant could waive rights by not attempting to move the trial date in these situations.
While he said he was prepared to hear the trial this week, Cabell Circuit Judge Gregory Howard said he would err on the side of caution and reset the trial.
A new trial was set for Jan. 25, but due to a scheduling conflict with Saad, a backup date of Feb. 15 was also set aside.
Starkey has said he shot McEachin after he heard the victim was connected with the shooting of his 14-year-old stepdaughter in the 200 block of 5th Avenue two weeks prior on Nov. 29, 2017, according to criminal complaints. Starkey’s attorneys added that the defendant believed men had also targeted both Starkey and his wife.
His attorneys have argued the killing was the result of Starkey being in fear for his life.
During a hearing Friday to seek continuance, Starkey’s attorneys said they had recently received evidence of a shooting in which Starkey’s vehicle was shot along Charleston Avenue the day before the 14-year-old was shot.
A Herald-Dispatch report from that incident said the shooting occurred in the 1300 block of Charleston Avenue. Hank Dial, then a Huntington police captain, said bullets struck a parked car, and evidence suggested at least two people were exchanging gunfire.
Saad said in the report it showed Starkey was clearly the target and witnesses identified people they believed were targeting him, noting other incidents had occurred.
Assistant prosecutors Kellie Neal and Plymale said while reviewing Starkey’s phone, they found a news report of the incident and asked investigators if there was a police report of that case. Saad said the defense was aware of the shooting, but had no witnesses to corroborate it. Now they do.
Plymale said the report should not matter because they knew the shooting occurred. It did not affect what was going on in his mind and couldn’t affect his defense strategy.
“What is in his mind is not what other people say. What other people have told investigators is not what is in his mind. And that’s what he’s trying to use,” Plymale said.
Without the corroboration, the jury might not believe Starkey’s testimony about what his mindset was, Saad said.
“He wasn’t aware of those statements, but then statements corroborate what he believed,” Saad said.
In other matters, Neal said she believes the only change on the medical examination report is a strike-through on one page, but the defense said they have not had a chance to compare it side-by-side to what they previously received to see the differences.
The defense also said they recently received video they are unable to open to view.
The sides will return to the courtroom Jan. 14. Howard also set aside a full day to hear motions and final arguments from the attorneys to make sure the case would go as scheduled.