Belle Marcum, 83, of Harts, became a victim of the growing crime earlier this week, however, instead of the run-of-the-mill breaking and entering, the situation escalated to attempted murder according to officials.
In this home invasion, Marcum was allegedly the victim of a gang of criminals, led by her very own niece, a close member of Marcum’s inner family circle for years, say relatives of the victim.
In another anomaly, this home invasion occurred during the daytime.
Police say Marcum was returning home along W.Va. Route 10, while perpetrators Kelli Dalton, Danielle Spencer and Harold Dyer, ages and addresses unavailable, were allegedly laying in wait inside Marcum’s home.
According to criminal complaints filed against the defendants, when Marcum made it home, she found that her front door had been kicked-in and an unauthorized entry had been made.
Police allege that Marcum’s grand niece, Kelli Dalton, decked out in a disguise, choked the victim and wrestled away her purse. Inside the purse was allegedly more than $1,000 in cash and checks.
After finding what they were after, the three defendants fled the scene in a blue pick-up truck, Marcum told police. The startled victim then called 911 to report the attack and theft. When investigating sheriff’s deputies arrived, they found Dyer’s driver's license, which had been left behind in her living room, allegedly during the incident.
Deputies later located the get-away vehicle in possession of the charged trio, which was immediately arrested on the charges of attempted murder and robbery.
If found guilty on the charges, the trio faces possible prison sentences as harsh as life in prison with the possibility of parole.
All three are housed in the Western Regional Jail at Huntington in lieu of $250,000 cash-only bonds.