Prosecutor ‘dumbfounded’ by magistrate’s dismissal of charges

Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants said he was “dumbfounded” after a magistrate dismissed charges against two Detroit men accused in a shooting that left a bystander injured on Charleston’s West Side.

According to Plants, Kanawha Magistrate Tim Halloran said during a preliminary hearing Thursday there wasn’t probable cause to charge Kenneth Raymond Gooden, 22, and Carlos Lamont Gray, 23, with wanton endangerment.

Plants said assistant Kanawha prosecutor Adam Campbell was in the middle of examining Charleston Police Detective Jeremy Tate when Halloran stopped the proceedings and dismissed the case.

“In all my time as a prosecutor, I have never seen a magistrate stop a hearing in the middle of an examination,” Plants said.

Halloran wasn’t on the bench and did not return a phone call late Thursday afternoon.

Charleston police refiled the charges against the men on Thursday evening, Plants said, to prevent an order being sent to South Central Regional Jail to release the men.

Once the charges are refiled, Plants said, Gooden and Gray are entitled to another preliminary hearing within 10 days. The hearing would again seek to determine if there’s probable cause to move the men’s cases over to Kanawha Circuit Court.

Police said on April 23, shots were exchanged between two groups of people at the intersection of Glenwood Avenue and Lovell Drive shortly before noon. One group was on foot while the second group was in a vehicle that later fled the scene, police said. Craig Tolley, of Charleston, was shot in the arm while walking to his car during the altercation.

Gooden and Gray were arrested later that day.

Students at Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary were put on precautionary lockdown for a time because of the shooting.

Police search a home on Lovell Drive and allegedly uncovered an AK-47 assault rifle and several other guns. Several spent shell casings also were recovered, police said.

Gooden and Gray were being held in jail Thursday each in lieu of a $100,000 bail.

Reach Travis Crum at or 304-348-5163.

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