Teen could face murder charge as adult

WELLSBURG – A female juvenile could face a murder charge as an adult in connection with the death of a Wellsburg man.

Brooke County Prosecutor Joseph Barki III confirmed a charge of murder has been filed against the teen in connection with the death of Donald Lee Bartz, 56, of Wellsburg.

Barki said state law prohibits him from disclosing the name of any juvenile charged with a crime and he couldn’t comment on the manner of Bartz’s death at this time.

But Barki said he plans to transfer the case to adult jurisdiction, meaning the teen could be tried as an adult. He said while the matter will come before a hearing in the juvenile justice system, it won’t be open to the public.

Barki confirmed that will change if the case is heard in an adult court, but he believes that may not occur until later this month.

Brooke County sheriff’s deputies found Bartz dead at his home on Irongate Road in Wellsburg Thursday following a report of a domestic incident there.

Wellsburg Police and West Virginia State Police also assisted at the scene.

It is the second murder in recent months in Brooke County.

Barki said the investigation and prosecution of a case involving the murder of Patrick Thomas, 56, of Colliers, is ongoing.

Thomas was found dead in his home on Tent Church Road on April 22.

Bruce David Reinhardt, 22, of Weirton, was named a person of interest and arrested for a probation violation in Hancock County in connection with an investigation by the Brooke County Sheriff’s Department.

Brooke County Sheriff Chuck Jackson said his department learned Reinhardt had lived with Thomas for a time prior to Thomas’ death and wanted to question him.

Barki said no new charges have been filed against Reinhardt at this time.

Reinhardt is being held in the Northern Regional Jail in lieu of a $10,000 bond set in Brooke County Magistrate Court.