Prosecutor drops murder, kidnapping charges against man

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FAIRMONT, W.Va. (AP) — A prosecutor has dropped murder and kidnapping charges against a 20-year-old West Virginia man who was accused of abducting a teenager, holding her hostage for about a year, impregnating her and beating her so severely that she miscarried.

Marion County Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey Freeman told WDTV that the charges against Brian Merchant Jones were dropped after authorities reviewed forensic evidence. He said a Marion County grand jury indicted Jones on Tuesday on charges of malicious assault.

Court records said the juvenile girl had been a runaway since March 2018 and told authorities that she had been with Jones the entire time.

She accused Jones of limiting her contact with the outside world, impregnating her and beating her severely enough to cause a miscarriage.


Information from: WDTV-TV,

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