Robert Maine Faces Murder Charge
One man is dead and another is in jail facing a murder charge after an argument between two cousins escalated to a high-powered pitch Saturday morning in New Martinsville.
Gregory G. Maine Jr., 30, died of injuries from a gun shot wound. New Martinsville Police Detective Donnie Harris said the Wetzel County Emergency Medical Squad stabilized Maine at the scene and transported him to Wetzel County Hospital. “He was then taken to Ruby Memorial (Hospital in Morgantown, W.Va.) where he later died from the gun shot,” said Harris.
Authorities were alerted to the incident at 1:23 a.m. when Maine’s wife, Julie, made a call to 911. She said her husband had been shot at 14 Rose St., New Martinsville, a home owned by Robert Maine Sr. It is also the dwelling of Robert Allen Maine Jr., 30, who has been charged with first degree murder in Wetzel County Magistrate Court. He was arraigned by video by Magistrate Judith Goontz. The case was transferred to Wetzel County Circuit Court, where bond will be set by a circuit judge. Robert Maine Jr. has requested a court-appointed attorney.
Gregory Maine was shot with a high powered 303 British Rifle. Harris said it was “obviously an intentional shooting.” According to Harris’ signed statement on the criminal complaint, Robert Maine Jr. said in a taped statement that “he meant to kill him.”
The incident stemmed from an altercation between the two cousins. “It was an argument over who was better than the other person. It was nothing serious whatsoever,” said Harris, who added that alcohol played a part in the altercation.
Responding to the initial call were the NMPD, New Martinsville Volunteer Fire Department, and WCEMS. The police officers secured the scene, but the defendant had already fled the home when police arrived.
“As far as the search for the suspect, it involved the Tyler County Sheriff’s Department, Paden City Police Department, West Virginia State Police, and the Wetzel County Sheriff’s Department. We were able to do that based upon mutual aid agreements that are signed for such purposes as that,” said Harris. “All of the agencies cooperated with no problems and the family members cooperated as well too.”
Family cooperation is what led to Robert Maine Jr.’s eventual arrest. He was found Saturday at about 6:15 p.m. in the mouth of the Lewis Wetzel Cave in the Tunnel Green Section of Wheeling. He was sound asleep when West Virginia State Police Sergeant J.A. Laing, of the Paden City Detachment, placed him in handcuffs.
“We received tips from the family that that was a possible location he was at,” noted Harris. Earlier that day he had been at a residence in Wheeling.
According to Laing, Robert Maine later told investigators he needed rest, but he feared police would track him down if he slept in an East Wheeling home where he was suspected to be.
The WVSP crime scene unit was called in to process the evidence in New Martinsville. Harris said the unit is comprised of troopers from throughout the state. “They got there in about an hour,” complimented Harris.
While the NMPD is investigating the incident, the evidence from the scene has been sent to the WVSP crime lab for processing. Harris said the department is still awaiting an autopsy report for Gregory Maine Jr.
This is not the first time Robert Maine Jr. has been in trouble with the law. On September 6, 2007, he was charged with two counts of brandishing a deadly weapon, specifically a 12-inch knife, at the Villa Apartments in New Martinsville. He pleaded guilty to one of the those charges; the second was dismissed. In addition to a $50 fine and $160.50 court costs, he was placed on one year unsupervised probation and he served 10 days in the Northern Regional Jail.
While criminal trouble may not be unfamiliar to the defendant, the type of crime he is accused of is unusual in New Martinsville and Wetzel County. “This is the first murder that we’ve had in the city limits of New Martinsville since 1992,” said Harris. “It definitely has people talking. Most people are just shocked that this happened here in this town.”