Authorities charge man with rare 'murder by duel'

The annoying buzz of an all-terrain vehicle may have triggered a deadly shootout that led police to file a rare charge of "murder by duel," authorities said.

The count, based on a dueling law that predates West Virginia's statehood, was filed Monday against Steven Bryant Simpson, 47, said State Trooper J.S. McCarty.

Simpson is accused of killing Dana Martin, 39, in an April 20 shootout a few hundred yards (or meters) from Simpson's home.

The law, written in 1849, reads: "If any person fight a duel in this state and in so doing inflict a mortal wound, he shall be deemed guilty of murder." West Virginia became a state in 1863.

The felony carries the same penalty as first-degree murder, up to a life sentence, McCarty said.

Witnesses saw the men argue in the road, part ways to retrieve handguns and return with weapons, Bell said. Testing determined that both weapons were fired. Martin was fatally shot in the torso.


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