EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSMURDER SENTENCE
from Eyewitness News Online
Judge Sentences Skeens To Life In Prison
Reported by: Darrah Wilcox
Web Producer: Darrah Wilcox
Also Contributing: Bethany Simmons, Associated Press
Reported: Jun. 4, 2012 11:24 AM EDT
Updated: Jun. 8, 2012 10:40 AM EDT
Wayne , Wayne County , West Virginia
A Wayne Couty man found guilty of first degree murder will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Thursday afternoon Circuit Judge Darrell Pratt sentenced Skeens to life with no chance for parole.
Prosecutors said Skeens stabbed 73-year-old Jess "Scott" Jarrell more than 40 times at the victim's home on New Year's Eve, 2010.
The defense argued that Skeens suffered from mental illness. Prosecutors contended that he faked being mentally ill.
Jarrell's widow, Carol Jarrell, said after the sentencing that the verdict won't bring her husband back, but it will give him some justice.
After only about 20 minutes of deliberations, a Wayne County jury found Doug Skeens guilty of first degree murder without the recommendation of mercy. Judge Darrell Pratt sentenced Skeens to life in prison with no chance of parole. Skeens had nothing to say on the way out the courtroom.
Victim Scott Jarrell's wife, Carol, says she thinks Skeens in an "evil man" and they are relieved he was found guilty. She says the family chooses to remember the way Jarrell lived his life, and not the way he died, and hope to be able to get some closure after having to relive the vicious crime all over again this week during the trial.
The jury has found Clinton Doug Skeens guilty of first degree murder without mercy in the death of Jess Scott Jarrell. Eyewitness News reporter Darrah Wilcox is in the courtroom and will have details coming up at 12pm.
The jury is now deliberating in the Clinton Douglas Skeens murder trial. They got the case about 11:00 a.m. Thursday after hearing instructions and closing arguments from attorneys.
The state says there is no question Skeens went to Scott Jarrells house and brutally murdered him willfully, maliciously, deliberately and intentionally with premeditation.
The defense claims Skeens was suffering from a psychotic episode and had no motive to kill Jarrell.
The jurors will have four verdicts from which to choose -- guilty of first degree murder either with or without mercy or guilty of second degree murder or not guilty.
Clinton Skeens took to the stand in his own defense Wednesday. Skeens told the jury he went through several years of hallucinations in which he was battling what he called righteousness versus evil.
He talked about his days on the football team coached by Scott Jarrell, and how the coach would give players money for food and take them to the doctor if they needed it. He says the only thing coach Jarrell ever did was help him out.
Later in life, he says he started having the visions. He says Jarrell appeared in those visions, first as a friend, and then as an enemy. He says in the visions, Jarrell killed Skeens' step-daughter and her mom. He says he thought Jarrell worked for the CIA and implanted those visions in him. He told the courtroom he walked from Huntington to Wayne four times to try to find Jarrell's house.
When he finally tracked him down on December 31, 2010, he asked Jarrell if he did work for the CIA. Jarrell said he didn't, and Skeens says he told Jarrell he was going to have to kill him. He says he remembers stabbing him two to three times, but can't remember what happened after that.
He says the next thing he remembers was standing in the Wal-Mart parking lot trying to remember what he was driving. When he found Jarrell's truck, he claims Jarrell appeared to him. He drove out route 152 and found a state trooper parked near the Lavalette PSD. He says Jarrell told him to "whoop" the trooper because he was a "bad cop". That's when Skeens approached the trooper and punched him in the face.
Jarrell says he battled mental illness for several years without telling anyone and had several temporary stays at places like Riverpark Hospital and Prestera. He says "I think I've always been sick. I think it was something I was born with."
He says there were three characters in his visions that included "Lord God Dougie", Lord God Alyssa" (his step-daughter) and "Lord God Almighty". He says the latter told him the louder he cussed and yelled the better "warrior" he would be." He says in his visions, coach Jarrell tortured him, but he didn't want to. He says the coach was just competitive.
After the murder, Skeens says he knew it was a "horrible thing."
Two medical experts who did psychiatric evaluations on Skeens also testified. Dr. Robert Miller testified that while he did show signs and symptoms of being manic or bi-polar, he also showed several signs of "malingering" or faking mental illness or psychotic episodes. A second doctor also says he showed many of those signs, and in his opinion, he was capable and competent to commit murder.
The jury was sent home about 4:00 p.m. Wednesday and will be back at 9:30 Thursday for instructions and closing arguments before they'll begin deliberations.
Stay tuned to Eyewitness News for continuing coverage of the trial.
Clinton Skeens took to the stand in his own defense Wednesday. He says that there are days he battles evil and that he did stab Jess Scott Jarrell, 73, two or three times, but doesn't remember anything else.
Skeens went into detail about Jarrell letting him inside of his home on the night of December 31, 2010. That's when he asked Jarrell if he worked with the CIA, then told him that he thought he killed his step-daughter and her mother and that he would have to kill him. Jarrell was found stabbed more than 40 times.
The defense rested after three witnesses Wednesday afternoon. Eyewitness News reporter Darrah Wilcox is in the courtroom and will have more on this story tonight at 6.
Two troopers, a medical examiner, and four forensic experts rounded out witness testimony for the state today. The experts testified that there was both DNA and fingerprint evidence from Clinton Skeens found at the crime scene. Scott Jarrell's blood was also found inside the truck that Skeens was found driving the night of the murder.
Lead investigator trooper D.J. Chapman testified he was parked in front of the Lavalette PSD that night, when Skeens pulled up behind him in that stolen truck and approached his car. Chapman says, "He said, 'Do you know who I am?' I said, 'no', he said, 'I'm the man who killed Scott Jarrell.' I said 'excuse me'? He said 'I'm the man who killed Scott Jarrell'. At that point I got out of the car and told him to put his hands on the hood of the vehicle." Skeens then allegedly punched Chapman in the face and resisted the arrest. A passerby helped subdue Skeens before backup arrived.
Jarrell's body was found a short while later at his Wilson Creek home. State medical examiner Dr. Alan Mock testified Jarrell was stabbed 43 times in the head, face, neck, chest, back and arms. A knife wound that penetrated the heart most likely caused Jarrell's death.
The state rested its case Tuesday afternoon. The defense will start calling witnesses Wednesday morning.
The trial continues for a Wayne County man charged with killing his former coach.
Tuesday morning, state troopers, the medical examiner, and a forensic analyst all took to the stand.
The state is expected to rest soon. It remains to be seen whether or not Skeens will take the stand in his own defense.
Eyewitness News reporter Darrah Wilcox is inside the courtroom and will continue to bring you updates throughout the day.
The murder trial is underway for the man charged with brutally killing a long time Wayne County football coach.
Scott Jarrell, 73, was found stabbed more than 40 times in his Wayne County home back in December of 2010. Clinton Douglas Skeens admitted to the killing soon after it happened, but later plead not guilty.
Monday morning the state called a handful of witnesses, several of whom lived near Jarrell. Several of Jarrell's neighbors testified they'd either seen Skeens walking in their neighborhood or had him come to their door and ask where Jarrell lived in the days before the murder. The manager of a nearby BP also said he had been in the store asking about the coach. As Skeens' former girlfriend, she warned Jarrell.
Sherry Lowe testified, "I told him just to be careful, that he wasn't the same guy that he was 30 years ago. He told me he wasn't worried. He wasn't worried."
Just days later, Jarrell's son was the one who found his body. Scott Jarrell, II testified, "I could see dad laying in the floor between the dryer and the table. I went in the house to try to, you know, I could just tell pretty much from the scene that he wasn't going to be alive but I did feel for the pulse. He was gone."
The state also showed Skeens on surveillance video at a local Kroger buying what is thought to be the murder weapon, and at a local Wal-Mart driving Jarrell's truck the night of the murder.
Skeens was a former student and player of Jarrell's. A motive for the murder has never been determined.
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