Man has murder charge dismissed

STEUBENVILLLE – The Jefferson County Prosecutor’s Office has dismissed an aggravated murder charge against Jerek Q. Wesley, 23, of 118 Garfield Ave. in connection with the March 26, 2012, shooting death of a man outside a downtown bar, but Wesley still faces a federal gun charge in West Virginia.

Quentin R. Nelson, 24. and Leroy Benjamin, 23, were shot around 2:05 a.m. on March 26, 2012, outside Pee Dee’s at 160 S. Fourth St. Nelson died two days later in a Pittsburgh hospital.

A silver or light blue car drove by with two men, both wearing black masks, and shots were fired, City Police reported.

Benjamin was hit in the leg near the knee and Nelson was hit in the lower back, police reported.

Wesley was indicted on single counts of aggravated murder, murder and felonious assault, but the prosecutor’s office dismissed the charges without prejudice because eyewitnesses could not be located and a state’s expert witness was scheduled to be on vacation during the trial, which was scheduled to start April 2.

A charge dismissed without prejudice can be refiled.

Prosecutor Jane Hanlin said Wesley also had been indicted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Wheeling for having a firearm as a convicted felon on July 11 in Weirton.

She said the U.S. Attorney’s Office was ready to proceed on Wesley’s case, so Hanlin said she dismissed the aggravated murder case in Jefferson County to let federal authorities go forward with their case. She said Wesley was released from the county jail into the hands of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Wesley is scheduled to appear in federal court in Wheeling on Wednesday for a detention hearing.

Hanlin said she intends to refile the aggravated murder charge against Wesley.

“We need to cooperation of a lot of people in the community,” she said.

Hanlin said she was willing to go to trial on the aggravated murder charge without the eyewitness but opted to allow the federal authorities to first prosecute Wesley.