Judge dismisses three felony counts against a woman who allegedly attempted to a hire a man to kill another person

BUCKHANNON – An Upshur County Circuit Court judge on Friday granted a motion to dismiss three charges against a woman who now stands accused of just one charge: alleged solicitation of murder.

Twenty-sixth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Kurt Hall approved a motion from the state to dismiss three of four counts from an indictment against Jaymie Wright during a hearing in Circuit Court Friday.

Wright was initially indicted in the January 2022 term of Upshur County Circuit Court for three counts of attempting to kill or injure by poison and one count of solicitation of murder, all felonies. According to court documents and previous reporting, Wright allegedly tried to poison a man three times and also allegedly attempted to hire another man to kill the same victim.

At special prosecuting attorney Savannah Wilkins’s request, Hall granted a motion to dismiss the three counts of attempting to kill or injure by poison.

During the March 31 hearing, the state made a motion to dismiss the three counts of attempting to kill or injure by poison. The first specifically listed aconite as the poisonous substance, the second listed a medication and the third listed potassium.

Wilkins, the special prosecuting attorney, said she filed the motion on behalf of the state because she did not have sufficient evidence to support those three counts. She told Hall she had located an expert on the aconite and found the aconite purchased was not toxic. She explained the substance itself was toxic, but it was prepared in a way that removed the toxicity.

“I do not believe there’s a sufficient basis to support that particular count,” Wilkins said.

Wilkins also requested the removal of the second count regarding the medication because the state could not find sufficient proof the prescription was given to the victim after reviewing his medical records.

“He’s not able to get a copy of that prescription, and I believe if the state can’t even establish this prescription existed without knowing exactly what that substance was — the milligrams and those other pieces of information – I think it’s difficult to establish that particular count with respect to the medication,” Wilkins said.

Finally, Wilkins said the count involving potassium should also be dismissed due to a misunderstanding involving the victim and a medical laboratory.

“We spoke with the lab prior to one of the previous hearings, and it turned out [that] the protein powder we thought tested for fentanyl did not actually test for fentanyl,” Wilson said. “The report needed to be clarified … so there was some misunderstanding about that.”

Wilkins said continuing to move forward with these counts on the indictment would come at great cost to the taxpayers, and there was not enough evidence to prove the charges to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt in court.

“I think it would also complicate matters and could cause the jury to take a lot longer,” Wilkins said. “We could focus on count four of the indictment and have a shorter, less complicated trial.”

Hall asked defense attorney Tom Dyer if he objected to dismissing the three counts on the indictment, and Dyer said they did not have any objections. Hall said it is the court’s policy never to make a prosecutor try a case without enough evidence and approved the state’s motion.

The fourth count on the indictment, solicitation of murder, remained, and jury selection for trial is set to take place April 17.

The original indictment claimed that Wright allegedly attempted to kill or injure the victim by placing various substances in his “food and/or beverages” and that she also “willingly and knowingly instigated or induced [a third party] to kill [the victim].” According to court documents, the incidents reportedly occurred sometime between January 2020 and January 2021.

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