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FIRST ON WOAY: Greenbrier County Man Sentenced After Murdering A Woman Back In January 2018

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GREENBRIER COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – A Greenbrier County Man pled and was sentenced today in connection to a murder back in January of 2018.

Thomas Dunbar was scheduled for a pretrial hearing today that turned into a plea and sentencing hearing.  Dunbar was originally charged with murder in the first degree, which carries a potential life sentence. The agreement between the State and the Defendant made an allowance for “mercy”. This means Dunbar will be parole eligible in 15 years, although the parole board will ultimately make that determination based largely on his conduct while incarcerated and the sentiments of the victim’s family.  Dunbar was charged in the murder of Shaela McCoy Abren. Attorney Robert Dunlap and Prosecuting Attorney Pat Via presented this joint plea proposal under Rule 11(e)(1)(c). This meant if the court accepted this proposed plea the penalty would be predetermined as a “with mercy result.” The court heard the evidence that would be provided during the trial, testimony from an affected family member, agreed to the plea and directly moved to sentencing.

Dunbar received credit for the time he has already served, was order to pay court costs and the Court expressed that it was hopeful that this may allow some closure for the family to avoid the full trial and additional pretrial proceedings.

On Thursday, January 18, 2018, at approximately 11:45 am, members of the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Office, the Greenbrier Valley Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force and the West Virginia State Police, responded to a deceased body near the area of Blue Bend off of State Route 92 located behind an uninhabited house.

The scene was subsequently processed by members of the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Search Team. Evidence obtained from the scene will be submitted to the State Police Crime Lab for analysis.

Throughout the evening hours of January 18, 2018, and the am hours of Friday, January 19, 2018, members of the aforementioned agencies, assisted by the White Sulphur Springs Police Department, conducted several searches and numerous interviews in connection with the death.

The body was transported to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Charleston for an autopsy.

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WOAY talks to Shaela Lynn McCoy Abren’s husband:  https://woay.tv/update-greenbrier-county-woman-found-dead-connected-to-suspect/

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Original Story: January 29, 2017, at 4:01 pm

GREENBRIER CO., WV (WOAY) – The Greenbrier County Sheriff tells WOAY that Thomas Dunbar is a person of interest in the murder of 32-year-old Shaela Lynn McCoy Abren of Webster Springs / Raleigh County.

No word yet on who’s suspected of killing 24-year-old Chastity Faye Hamm of White Sulphur Springs.

Their bodies were found on January 18th and 20th in wooded areas of the county.

Dunbar is currently in the South Central Regional Jail on unrelated gun charges in Raleigh and Kanawha Counties.  He has a $100,000 bond on those two charges.

Here is Greenbrier County Sheriff Bruce Sloan’s news release:

Relatively early in the murder investigation of Shaela McCoy Abren, investigators with the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s office developed a suspect in her death.  That individual was identified as Thomas Ray Dunbar, age 37, of Frankford, WV.

During the course of the investigation, information was developed which led investigators to believe that Thomas Dunbar may have been involved in the December 17, 2017 shooting that occurred at the Go-Mart on Harper Road in Raleigh County.

Deputies with the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Office met with investigators with the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office regarding his possible connection to that crime.  Subsequent to those inquiries, investigators with the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office would obtain an arrest warrant for Thomas Dunbar for his involvement in that shooting.

During the early morning hours of Saturday, January 20, 2018, officers with the Charleston Police Department arrested Thomas Ray Dunbar on unrelated charges in their jurisdiction and he was incarcerated in the South Central Regional Jail.  Investigators with the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Office traveled to Kanawha County and met with members of the Charleston Police Department subsequent to that arrest.   The assistance provided by the Charleston Police Department during this investigation would prove to be crucial.



Tyler Barker

Tyler Barker is currently the Interim News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. I was promoted to this job in Mid-November. I still will fill in on weather from time to time. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email me at tbarker@woay.com


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