A convicted felon who killed four people in a shooting rampage in Monongalia County on Monday bought the gun from another West Virginian who posted it for sale on Facebook, a federal official said Friday.
Dewayne Haddix, resident agent in charge for the Clarksburg office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the agency had determined that Jody Lee Hunt bought the gun he was found with after the shootings from another Monongalia County resident about a year ago. Authorities don’t believe Hunt, a Westover resident and owner of J&J Towing, and the seller previously knew each other.
Because he was a convicted felon, it was illegal for Hunt to possess a firearm. Federal law also prohibits people from knowingly selling or giving guns to convicted felons.
“We have no reason to believe the seller was in violation of state or federal law at this time,” Haddix said, noting that federal law requires illegal sales be made “knowingly” for sellers to be punished.
Hunt, 39, was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound off U.S. 19 near the Monongalia/Marion county line Monday evening, hours after he shot the four people dead.
The ATF traced the gun to when another resident purchased it at a licensed gun dealer, Haddix said.
“We submitted an urgent trace through the ATF national tracing center, [which] provided us information identifying the retail purchase of the firearm,” Haddix said. He didn’t know how much the gun cost.
Police say Hunt killed his ex-girlfriend, Sharon Kay Berkshire, 39, of Westover, her current boyfriend, Michael David Frum, 28, of Maidsville, Hunt’s cousin, Jody Taylor, 43, and Doug Brady, 45, owner of rival company Doug’s Towing.
Hunt pleaded guilty in 1999 to felony charges of abduction and using a firearm in the commission of a felony after holding another ex-girlfriend hostage in Virginia, according to court records. He was sentenced to three years in prison and released in September 2001, according to the Virginia Department of Corrections.
A corrections official said Hunt went to the Huttonsville Correctional Center, in Randolph County, after his release in Virginia, to serve a sentence on a charge of wanton endangerment committed in Hampshire County.
He spent the next 2 ½ years incarcerated in West Virginia — at Huttonsville, Denmar Correctional Center and Mount Olive Correctional Complex — and was released in March 2004.
In 1994, Hunt was sentenced to probation in Pennsylvania for trespassing and unlawful taking.
Reach Erin Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org, 304-348-5163 or follow @erinbeckwv on Twitter.