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Family of alleged murder victim speaks

Updated: Wednesday, January 29 2014, 12:56 PM EST

By Jennifer Black

HANCOCK COUNTY, W.Va.--

It was standing room only inside a Hancock County circuit courtroom, where cousins, aunts, uncles and even the brother of an alleged murder victim donned arm bands that read “Justice for Tonia.”

Garan’s family was in the courtroom for the arraignment of Leslie Craig Arnold Jr., who is charged with her murder.

"We're gonna fill up a pew if there's a hearing.  We're gonna be here every time.  For every little thing-whether its two minutes, two hours, or four days.  We're gonna be here,” Garan’s cousin, Donna Sullivan, said.

Wednesday morning's arraignment was short, but long enough for Judge Martin Gaughan to outline the charges against Leslie Craig Arnold Jr.

 

In early January, the Hancock County grand jury indicted Arnold Jr. on charges of murder, and concealment of a deceased human body.  Those charges are in addition to a first degree robbery charge and felon in the possession of a firearm charge.

 

The charges against Arnold stem from an investigation of an armed robbery that eventually led to the discovery of Garan’s body, wrapped in multiple garbage bags inside a bedroom closet at the Overbrook Towers apartments in Weirton.

Wednesday in court, Arnold’s attorney entered a not guilty plea on his client’s behalf.

 

The plea was met with a gasp from family members who watched quietly, while wiping away tears.

 

“What happened to her, it’s just way out there.  Our family wants to make sure that justice will be served,” Garan’s cousin, Jim Andreozzi, said.

 

Her cousins said the arm bands are a symbol of their solidarity.

 

“We'll stick up for her through thick and thin.  We were there for her when she was alive and we're gonna be here now," Sullivan said.

Leslie Craig Arnold Jr. will be back in court in mid-February, and that time a trial date could be set.

Family of alleged murder victim speaks


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