Two Men Charged with Murder

By: Amy Kehm
By: Amy Kehm

A hit and run, a fight over drugs, and a stabbing. The pieces of the puzzle are coming together in Augusta County's first murder of the year.

According to the Augusta County Sheriff's Office, two men have now been charged in the murder of James Wesley Sword, whose identity was confirmed in an autopsy Monday.

Franklin Wade Riley of Verona and Donald Scott Johnson, also of Verona, are being charged with first-degree murder.

The Sheriff's Office says the two men had just recently met Sword.

Sheriff Randy Fisher tells us that it began, Friday night, with an argument over Meth and that it ended in murder. From Friday night right through the start of the work week, more and more details continue to emerge. Those details are serving as pieces to a murderous puzzle.

At 7:22 Saturday morning, a man's bloodied body was found along Berry Farm Road near Verona. Quickly, the focus is placed on events from the night before.

Friday night, between 7:30 and 8:00, Staunton Police investigated a hit and run that took them to the Rite Aid parking lot in Verona. An abandoned car was found and seized. Authorities now confirm that they recovered two knives from the car.

Authorities say that car, with three people inside, was the scene of a heated argument over Meth. A suspect that TV-3 has learned is Donald Johnson allegedly stabbed the driver of the car, J.W. Sword. Authorities say the fight continued outside of the car, where the victim was left but not found until the next morning.

That night, officers questioned Johnson at the Meade Trailer Park in Verona. According to the affidavit for a search warrant, officers noticed that Johnson's jacket had blood on it. He also had sneakers with red stains and blood on his hands and fingers. He was arrested on an outstanding warrant in Rockingham County.

Johnson and Riley are currently being held in the Augusta County Jail with no bond.


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