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Fetty attacker strikes deal

Plea reached in exchange for testimony


By Daniel Prazer
Gazette Staff Writer

WAVERLY -- The youngest of three men accused in the beating death of a homeless Waverly man pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter Monday in exchange for testimony against his co- defendants.

James Trent Jr., 19, will serve seven years in prison for his role in the death of 39-year-old Daniel Fetty, who police have said was beaten with bricks, boards and bottles, stripped naked and left to die in a trash container Oct. 2.

Prosecutor Rob Junk said Trent likely will be called to testify in the trial of Martin Baxter, 28, and Matthew Ferman, 22, both of whom have been charged with aggravated murder. Those trials are set to begin at 9 a.m. Monday, Dec. 13, but the two men will face trial separately, Junk said.

"Obviously, plea agreements like this we don't take lightly," Junk said. "I can tell you that this is something that we consulted with the victim's family, and the state and my office and the investigators felt this was in the interest of justice."

Jaunita Meek, Fetty's mother, said she hopes the upcoming trial will help her come to terms with her son's death.

"I'm looking for closure," she said.

Waverly Police Chief Larry Roe said he felt good about the plea deal.

"I think ... the actions of the other two men were more severe (than) that of Trent," he said.

"Seven years is a long time in prison when you're 19 years old."

Jay Wamsley, the public defender representing Trent, declined to comment, but Junk said he and those in his office are still building their cases against Baxter and Ferman.

"Actually, we have now approximately 50 individuals who are involved in some way or another in the case, counting civilian witnesses, police officers, (Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation) agents and forensic scientists," he said.

Source: Chillicothe Gazette

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