Justin Keel and Donavon Tyler McCune’s Murder Trial to Proceed as Separate Cases

PARKERSBURG, West Virginia – The upcoming trial of two men, accused of the murder of a Parkersburg man during an alleged drug deal gone wrong, will proceed as two separate cases. Justin Keel, also known as George Justin Smith, and Donavon Tyler McCune are the defendants in this case.

The two men were indicted on charges of murder, first-degree robbery, presentation of a firearm during the commission of a felony, wanton endangerment with a firearm, and conspiracy to commit a felony in the death of Terrance Mills Jr., also known as T.J. Originally set to go to trial together, a recent court decision has separated the cases, setting Keel’s trial to proceed first.

Dezaray Lynn Roberts, another individual involved in the incident, has already pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery as part of a plea agreement. Court documents allege that Roberts arranged a drug purchase with Mills and the two men with the intention of robbing him, but the encounter resulted in a fatal shooting and the theft of Roberts’ vehicle.

During a recent hearing, Keel’s attorney moved to exclude prior bad acts committed by Keel during the trial, and the judge granted the motion. McCune’s attorney also made a motion to sever the cases based on statements from an individual incarcerated with McCune, leading to concerns about how a jury might view the connection between the two defendants. The judge ruled that any plea agreements needed to be submitted by a specific deadline.

The trial is set to commence with jury selection, and possible opening arguments on Monday, followed by a day off on Tuesday for the presiding judge’s other commitments. The trial will resume on Wednesday and continue through the week. McCune’s trial will be scheduled for a later date as Keel is expected to face trial first. Both men are currently in custody at the North Central Regional Jail in West Virginia.