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Woman who shot man she thought ‘possessed’ indicted by grand jury

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Oct. 16—PRINCETON — A Mercer County woman who was arrested in July 2020 and charged with shooting a man that she was living with because he was a “demon” or “disciple of the devil” has been indicted by the October 2021 Mercer County Grand Jury.

Monica Suzette Hartwell, 52, of Lashmeet was arrested on July 26, 2020 after the shooting death of 62-year-old Michael Walker. Hartwell is being held without bond at the Southern Regional Jail.

The Mercer County Grand Jury indicted Hartwell on a charge of first-degree murder, according to records released Friday by the Mercer County Circuit Clerk’s Office.

Trooper First Class M.C. Shiflette of the West Virginia State Police Princeton detachment testified during Hartwell’s preliminary hearing that he was dispatched about 3:30 p.m. July 26 after a shooting was reported on Presbyterian Avenue in Lashmeet. When he arrived, he saw Walker lying on his home’s front steps, bleeding from a wound and not moving.

After the house was cleared and Hartwell was taken into custody with help from other troopers and Mercer County deputies, Shiflette entered the home and found a .410 single-shot shotgun on the couch.

Hartwell was placed in a state police cruiser after she was arrested. She first declined to be interviewed after being advised of her Miranda Rights, but Shiflette said she spoke later when he checked on her.

Neighbors told investigators that both Hartwell and Walker “had mental issues that day” and had been drinking earlier.

“I believe Ms. Hartwell told me she was schizophrenic and bipolar,” Shiflette testified at the preliminary hearing. “Ms. Hartwell told me (Walker) believed he was God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, and she did not believe that. She believed that he was possessed by a demon.”

Hartwell also said that she “believed he was either the devil or a disciple of the devil and she had to shoot him to save her community,” Shiflette said.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Anthony H. Heltzel asked Shiflette if Hartwell had called her niece about 20 minutes before the shooting and said that “she was going to get rid of Mr. Walker.” Shiflette said a witness who lived in the home with Hartwell and Walker had heard this call.

Attorney Ryan Flanigan, who represented Hartwell at the preliminary hearing, asked Shiflette where Walker had been shot. Pointing to his own face, Shiflette said Walker was hit near his right eye. During the defense’s questioning, Shiflette said no empty liquor or alcohol bottles were found at the home.

Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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