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Drennen Trial

Joshua Drennen, 28, of Clendenin, is led into the courtroom by a bailiff on Monday. Drennan is facing a murder charge in the death of 77-year-old Barbara Steele, and various other charges for an alleged crime spree on Charleston’s West Side.

Joshua Drennen, the Clendenin man accused in a murder and ensuing crime spree on Charleston’s West Side last year, appeared in court Monday for the first day of his criminal trial.

Drennen, 28, waived his right to a trial by jury Monday, but after a deliberation, Drennen asked Kanawha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey to reinstate a jury trial. Bailey ordered potential jurors to appear Tuesday at 10 a.m.

Drennen is facing a murder charge resulting from an alleged incident the morning of Feb. 11, 2020, where police say Drennen killed Barbara Steele, 77, in her home in the 600 block of Georgia Street. Authorities determined Steele died from blunt force trauma to the head.

He is also facing various charges from an alleged crime spree that happened after the killing, including a carjacking, an attempted carjacking and hitting a Charleston police officer in the head with an antique flat iron. The officer shot Drennen after being knocked to the ground, according to police reports.

Drennen’s attorney said Monday that various family members will be testifying on behalf of the defense, testifying to his mental state at the time of the incident. The state has declared Drennen competent to stand trial.

Reach Joe Severino at, 304-348-4814 or follow

@jj_severino on Twitter.

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