The attorney of a Charleston man charged with first-degree murder was given permission Thursday to take an investigator to the place police say his client killed a 90-year-old Kanawha City man earlier this year.
Anthony David Caldwell, 39, is set to stand trial July 21 in the bloody slaying of George Molle Jr.
Molle was found dead in his home at 4907 MacCorkle Ave. in January.
Kanawha Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey granted the request by Caldwell’s attorney, public defender Rick Holicker, to visit the MacCorkle Avenue house. Holicker said viewing the photographs taken by police wouldn’t be enough to properly defend Caldwell when “his entire life is at stake.”
Molle’s body was found in a hallway leading to a back bedroom, according to police. He was laying face up on his floor, with blood coming from his mouth. He had puncture wounds on his head, other wounds on his hands and strangulation marks on his neck, police have said.
There was no sign of forced entry, according to a criminal complaint. Police found a bloody hammer and bloody work gloves in a trash bin near the home.
A neighbor called police because Molle had not turned on his back porch light, as he frequently did to indicate he was going to bed.
Police say Caldwell, who worked for a lawn-care business that Molle had used, admitted to the killing. No motive was given, but a cigar box and tin can that contained money were allegedly missing from Molle’s home after he was killed, according to police.
Assistant Kanawha Prosecutor Michele Drummond objected to Holicker and Caldwell’s visit to the house. She said photographs taken by police “clearly depict movement from room to room.”
No one is living in the house, but Drummond said Molle’s sister sometimes visits.
Holicker said he would need about 30 minutes at the scene.
Bailey said the findings from Holicker’s investigation would be sealed. “This is solely for attorney-client privilege,” she said.
Caldwell has been held in the South Central Regional Jail since Jan. 8 without bail.
According to the criminal complaint, Molle’s neighbors said he mainly kept to himself. Aside from his sister, the only people mentioned as associates by more than one neighbor were the employees of a lawn care service. Inside Molle’s house, police found a business card for “Nature-Boys Lawn Care Services.”
The owner was listed as Dave Caldwell, Anthony Caldwell’s father. Detectives began by checking a security camera at nearby United Bank, at 4901 MacCorkle Ave. S.E. They saw a man enter Molle’s home and leave 28 minutes later. That led detectives to check at least four more surveillance cameras, all of which captured the suspect on tape.
A camera at the 7-Eleven on 50th Street and MacCorkle Avenue showed a white man wearing blue jeans and a dark jacket. The man was seen approaching Molle’s house, and walking away from the house about 30 minutes later, according to the complaint. When the man approached the house, he wasn’t carrying anything. When he left, he was allegedly carrying a white bag and a black garbage bag. Detectives then got footage from cameras at Drug Emporium and the Computer Warehouse, both on MacCorkle Avenue. Both cameras showed the man walking east in a nearby alley, according to the complaint. Molle’s sister told police that she thought a tin can filled with change had been taken from her brother’s home. That led police to the Kroger at 5717 MacCorkle Ave. S.E., which has a machine that automatically rolls change.
Cameras at the Kroger also showed the suspect, who still had the white bag, but no longer had the black garbage bag, according to the complaint. After retracing their steps and searching the alley, police found a trash bag with the bloody hammer and gloves in a Dumpster behind Drug Emporium. Caldwell’s girlfriend identified him from still images taken from surveillance cameras, according to the complaint. She allegedly told police that Caldwell lived with her — about 20 blocks east of Molle’s house — and said that Caldwell was at a friend’s house on Clemson Avenue in Rand. Police found Caldwell there and arrested him.
Reach Kate White at email@example.com or 304-348-1723.