MARTINSBURG – A father and son were indicted Feb. 18 by a grand jury on charges that they solicited two men to set fire to the home of a member of the House of Delegates last year in an attempt to murder him.
Darryl Edmond Palmer and Matthew Brian Palmer were both indicted on single counts of first-degree arson, conspiracy and solicitations to commit the murder of W.Va. House of Delegates member Stephen Skinner, D-Jefferson, who represents the 67th District.
Charges were initially filed against the defendants in Jefferson County, but Berkeley Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely said additional evidence indicated that the alleged solicitation occurred in Berkeley County.
Games-Neely said that although there was no fire, the defendants accused of soliciting someone to commit arson face the same charges as if the fire had actually occurred.
The men who were solicited to commit the acts did not follow through with the crimes and were not charged, according to Games-Neely.
"The State Police have done an excellent job, and I am grateful for their hard work," Skinner, who is an attorney, said in an e-mail to The West Virginia Record. "I look forward to the justice system taking its course."
Darryl Palmer and Matthew Palmer conspired to set fire to Skinner's home in retaliation for a civil lawsuit that was filed against them due to a consumer issue, according to court documents.
The police investigation included witnesses who said the Palmers offered them between $1,500 and $2,000 to burn down Skinner's home, according to court documents.
The witnesses informed the police that Matthew Palmer told them his father would pay more if Skinner was in the house at the time of the fire, the court documents stated.
The Palmers' next court appearance will be an arraignment in Berkeley Circuit Court.