CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office recently filed a brief asking the state Supreme Court of Appeals to uphold the conviction of a Huntington man in the beating and strangulation death of a woman in eastern Cabell County.
The office contends that Brian Emerson Dement, 39, of Huntington, gave three courtroom confessions as to his role in the 2002 killing and, therefore, should not benefit from a new trial granted to his co-defendants.
“The existence of multiple confessions, all under oath, creates a significant burden for the accused to overcome,” Morrisey said. “Our arguments demonstrate why the state Supreme Court of Appeals should uphold this conviction.”
The brief says Dement pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and later testified under oath on two occasions as to his participation in the crime. He testified on both occasions against his alleged co-defendants.
The brief specifically notes that Dement’s guilty plea included a full confession to the killing in contrast to his plea to an unrelated assault, in which Dement maintained his innocence in the unrelated assault but agreed not to contest the prosecution’s evidence in that case.
The AG's office cites case law in arguing that Dement’s three confessions should outweigh any claim of newly discovered evidence related to the homicide. Each of his co-defendants, the brief notes, have always maintained their innocence in judicial proceedings.
Dement is serving a 30-year prison sentence.
West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals case number 19-0785