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Murder suspect waives preliminary hearing
In strangulation death of Rideway woman

Friday, November 30, 2012

By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer

A man charged with first-degree murder in the strangulation of a Ridgeway woman in September waived his right to a preliminary hearing on Thursday.

Arthur Gene McClard, 37, also was charged in September with robbery and vehicle larceny in connection with the death of Joyce Daily Mitchell, 74, of 270 King Air Ave., in Ridgeway.

Henry County District Court Judge Frank Greenwalt said at McClard’s hearing that according to information the court received from the commonwealth’s attorney, the robbery charge will not be prosecuted.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Bob Bushnell said that has no impact on the murder and vehicle larceny charges, which will be presented to the grand jury on Jan. 22.

The grand jury will consider issuing an indictment in the case. That does not indicate guilt. It is the grand jury’s determination that there is enough evidence to hold a trial.

Greenwalt said the decision to waive the preliminary hearing should not be construed as an admission of guilt, but rather part of McClard’s defense strategy.

Mitchell’s body was found Sept. 3 inside her mobile home by authorities responding to calls for a well-being check, according to previous reports.

She had been strangled, according to court documents and previous reports.

Mitchell’s purse was missing, as was her 1998 burgundy Chrysler Concorde. The vehicle was recovered later on the Blue Ridge Parkway, according to previous reports.

According to an affidavit filed in the Henry County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, police were told that Mitchell was struck in the head with a 15-pound dumbbell after she was strangled.

During a search of Mitchell’s vehicle, authorities collected several items, including swabs from the steering wheel, driver’s side door handle and gear shift, a glass mug, pocketbook with a red stain and a bank envelope, according to court records.

Two dumbbells, Mitchell’s debit card, a plastic wrapper, checkbook, Pabst Blue Ribbon beer can, calendar with red stains, yellow earring, a Pall Mall cigarette butt and newspapers were among the items recovered from areas in or around Mitchell’s home, according to court documents.


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