Trial delayed after suspect asks for test of accusers’ DNA


HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) – The murder trial of a West Virginia man has been delayed after he requested his accusers’ DNA be compared to DNA found at the scene of the crime.

The trial for Ronald Amory Witherel, 42, is set to start Tuesday has been rescheduled for February. Witherel is accused of killing David Ralph in 2017.

Ralph’s girlfriend told police she awoke to a noise and saw her boyfriend’s employee, Witherel, inside the couple’s shared home. She said he then left.

Witherel’s girlfriend told police Witherel and Ralph had been driven to Ralph’s home earlier that night by two other men, the same ones who later accused Witherel of murder.

Witherel also is charged with first-degree robbery in a separate case. A judge hasn’t said if the charges warrant separate trials.

Kassie Simmons

Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at