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Jury to deliberate conspiracy death case

A jury is expected to begin deliberations today in the case of a Pulaski County man accused of conspiring to have a Radford woman murdered as part of a motorcycle gang initiation.
Convicted murderer Richard Forest Mabry now acknowledges the defendant, French David Kanode, wasn’t a member of the Pagan’s motorcycle gang. However, Mabry still contends Kanode spearheaded the January 2008 murder he pleaded guilty to a year ago.
Testimony in Kanode’s trial got underway before a jury of nine women and five men in Pulaski County Circuit Court Monday. Kanode is charged with conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation to commit murder in the stabbing death of Dawn Meredith Wright.
Mabry, the prosecution’s key witness, testified Monday that Kanode put him up to killing Wright as a means to get out of his supposed initiation process with the Pagan’s rather than a means to get into the gang. Nonetheless, Mabry claims he intended to save Wright’s life rather than take it when he was on Bloomer’s Mountain with her the night of Jan. 21. He testified Wright was fatally stabbed twice in the chest and twice in the back only after she misunderstood his intentions and became involved in a struggle with him.
Defense attorney Johathon Venzie, on the other hand, contends Mabry’s claims are nothing more than a vendetta against Kanode for Kanode’s statements to police linking Mabry to the crime.
Mabry denied Venzie’s suggestions that he killed Wright in anger because she “insulted” him and rebuffed his sexual advances when they were alone in his van on Bloomer’s Mountain.
Shackled and handcuffed, 42-year-old Mabry was on the stand for a little over 90 minutes Monday. He said he met Kanode in 2004, but it wasn’t until 2007 that they first had conversations about the Pagan’s. He says Kanode claimed to be a member of the gang and “talked it up like it was a pretty sweet deal” and that joining would be a win, win decision.
Mabry identified a handwritten oath police found on a piece of paper in Mabry’s wallet as a Pagan’s oath Kanode dictated over the phone to him. “He told me to memorize it because it had to be spoken when I was initiated,” Mabry said of the oath, which swears loyalty to the Pagan’s family and promises to support the gang’s goals.
He also identified a couple of tattoos he contends Kanode put on his shoulder blade and neck in 2007 when he was “prospecting” to be a member of the gang. He says the tattoos are indicative of membership in the gang.
One of the tattoos depicts a swastika, skull and banner reading “free the 73” and another one bears the initials “GFBD.”
Mabry testified “free the 73” refers to 73 Pagan’s involved in a dispute with the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang, while GFBD stands for “God forgives, the brotherhood doesn’t.”
Although he, at first, was interested in joining the gang, Mabry said he later started to question whether Kanode was actually a member. By about mid-December of 2007, he says he decided he wanted to get out of the “prospecting” process because Kanode started telling him of the “blood in, blood out” initiation process.
He explained that “blood in, blood out” meant he would have to kill someone to get into the gang and, if he ever decided he wanted out, he would have to either kill someone else or give his own blood (life).
On the night of Jan. 21, 2008, Mabry said, Kanode called to say, “come by my house now. I’ve got a way to get you out” of the initiation proces
Mabry testified that when he arrived at Kanode’s Dublin residence, Kanode “got in the van and put a knife to my throat … He asked me, “are you ready to die tonight? If you don’t do everything I tell you to do, you and your family will die.”
As they rode around Dublin and Pulaski, Mabry says Kanode was prodding him for the name of someone “I had a grudge against” who could be the target of a murder. He contends Kanode also suggested getting “a teenager off the street” for a victim.
“He said he would kill my family first so I could suffer through it before it was my turn,” Mabry told the jury.
When he insisted there was no one he begrudged enough to kill, Mabry said, Kanode directed him to Wright’s residence in Radford.
Mabry claims he never knew Wright prior to that night, but Wright’s roommate testified Mabry was a regular visitor to the residence. She did, however, indicate Mabry wouldn’t talk to anyone and looked as if he was scared when they came to the residence that night.
Returning to Pulaski at Kanode’s suggestion, Mabry claims the three of them went to Bloomer’s Mountain before Kanode had him drive to the home of Virginia Robinson off Vista Road in Pulaski. As they drove up to the residence, Kanode “shoved his hand in the pocket of my sweatshirt and I could feel the knife. He said ‘do what you’ve got to do.’”
Kanode stayed at Robinson’s residence as Mabry and Wright headed back up Bloomer’s Mountain.
Mabry says he had Wright get out of the van when it slid off the road and became stuck.
In rambling and confusing testimony, Mabry said he intended to tell Wright about Kanode’s plot to have her killed and then find a way to keep himself and his family safe when he got the van unstuck. However, he says the knife fell from his pocket and the switchblade sprung open when it hit the ground.
He contends Wright saw the knife, “misunderstood” his intentions and started to run away. In his effort to catch up with her and explain that he wasn’t going to kill her, they fell and “that’s when it happened.”
“You killed her didn’t you?” Venzie said.
Mabry indicated he did, but he never actually stated that he murdered her. He said she was “sitting against the bank and she passed.”
Mabry suggested Wright was accidentally stabbed in the chest as he tried to keep her from hitting him.
However, on cross-examination he admitted stabbing Wright twice in the back even though she had pleadaed with him not to hurt her and she was having increasing difficulty breathing.
Mabry acknowledged he never tried to get help for Mabry. He said once he realized she was dying, “it wasn’t long after that she passed.”
He said he doesn’t know that getting her help would have done any good anyway.
Asked how he was felling after killing Wright, Mabry said, “Angry at myself. Upset with myself. Confused. In turmoil. I couldn’t decide what to do.”
He said he dragged her body into a ravine, placed the knife in a bag and pouch and headed back to Robinson’s residence.
When he got there, Kanode had just left in a taxi, according to testimony. Mabry said he called Kanode and Kanode told him to “get to my house right now.
“I asked him what he had got me into. He said not to worry he would fix everything,” Mabry said of Kanode.
When he got to Kanode’s residence, Mabry said Kanode asked to see the knife as proof he had murdered Wright. He said Kanode commented that there wasn’t much blood on the knife and that it didn’t look like real blood.
Mabry said Kanode gave him a “story to use” if police questioned him about Wright. He said he first stuck with that story when he was questioned. He acknowledged telling police several different false stories about what happened.
He said he at first though Kanode had him “covered” and everything would be okay.
“I was grasping at straws, I guess you could say,” Mabry said of the stories he told police. “I hadn’t fully grasped” what he had done and “how it affected others.”
On cross-examination, Mabry admitted writing a letter to prosecutors refusing to testify without having more than a dozen years taken off his sentence.
But when it all came down to it, he said, “justice had to be done.” He said he is serving time for his involvement in the murder, now it’s time for Kanode to pay for his involvement.
Several times Mabry clashed with Venzie over whether statements he made to police were referring to the Pagan’s motorcycle gang or the Pagan religion, which he used to practice. He asked Venzie whether he wanted to “split hairs” over comments he made or “get into theological discussions.”
When Venzie pointed out conflicts between statements Mabry gave to police and his testimony Monday, Mabry said he had too much on his mind (the night of the murder) to pay attention to details. He kept saying his mind was in a “whirlwind” that night.
Asked by Venize when he changed from saving Wright’s life to killing her, Mabry responded, “to be honest, I don’t know.”
In her testimony, Robinson said she couldn’t remember details as to what she and Kanode talked about while Mabry and Wright were gone. However, she said one comment Kanode made was odd and stuck with her.
“He said ‘that girl (Wright) is the president’s daughter. I hope Rick doesn’t mistake her for his mark,’” Robinson said.
She said she thought the statement was strange, but she didn’t ask him about it.
She told Venzie she doesn’t remember whether Kanode expressed any concern about whether Wright was safe with Mabry.
According to testimony by Sheriff Jim Davis, Kanode told police Mabry didn’t return to his residence after leaving with Wright. However, confronted with the fact Kanode’s wife (or girlfriend) told police he came by the residence, Davis said Kanode indicated he was drunk that night and doesn’t remember.

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Jury to deliberate conspiracy death case

A jury is expected to begin deliberations today in the case of a Pulaski County man accused of conspiring to have a Radford woman murdered as part of a motorcycle gang initiation.
Convicted murderer Richard Forest Mabry now acknowledges the defendant, French David Kanode, wasn’t a member of the Pagan’s motorcycle gang. However, Mabry still contends Kanode spearheaded the January 2008 murder he pleaded guilty to a year ago.
Testimony in Kanode’s trial got underway before a jury of nine women and five men in Pulaski County Circuit Court Monday. Kanode is charged with conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation to commit murder in the stabbing death of Dawn Meredith Wright.
Mabry, the prosecution’s key witness, testified Monday that Kanode put him up to killing Wright as a means to get out of his supposed initiation process with the Pagan’s rather than a means to get into the gang. Nonetheless, Mabry claims he intended to save Wright’s life rather than take it when he was on Bloomer’s Mountain with her the night of Jan. 21. He testified Wright was fatally stabbed twice in the chest and twice in the back only after she misunderstood his intentions and became involved in a struggle with him.
Defense attorney Johathon Venzie, on the other hand, contends Mabry’s claims are nothing more than a vendetta against Kanode for Kanode’s statements to police linking Mabry to the crime.
Mabry denied Venzie’s suggestions that he killed Wright in anger because she “insulted” him and rebuffed his sexual advances when they were alone in his van on Bloomer’s Mountain.
Shackled and handcuffed, 42-year-old Mabry was on the stand for a little over 90 minutes Monday. He said he met Kanode in 2004, but it wasn’t until 2007 that they first had conversations about the Pagan’s. He says Kanode claimed to be a member of the gang and “talked it up like it was a pretty sweet deal” and that joining would be a win, win decision.
Mabry identified a handwritten oath police found on a piece of paper in Mabry’s wallet as a Pagan’s oath Kanode dictated over the phone to him. “He told me to memorize it because it had to be spoken when I was initiated,” Mabry said of the oath, which swears loyalty to the Pagan’s family and promises to support the gang’s goals.
He also identified a couple of tattoos he contends Kanode put on his shoulder blade and neck in 2007 when he was “prospecting” to be a member of the gang. He says the tattoos are indicative of membership in the gang.
One of the tattoos depicts a swastika, skull and banner reading “free the 73” and another one bears the initials “GFBD.”
Mabry testified “free the 73” refers to 73 Pagan’s involved in a dispute with the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang, while GFBD stands for “God forgives, the brotherhood doesn’t.”
Although he, at first, was interested in joining the gang, Mabry said he later started to question whether Kanode was actually a member. By about mid-December of 2007, he says he decided he wanted to get out of the “prospecting” process because Kanode started telling him of the “blood in, blood out” initiation process.
He explained that “blood in, blood out” meant he would have to kill someone to get into the gang and, if he ever decided he wanted out, he would have to either kill someone else or give his own blood (life).
On the night of Jan. 21, 2008, Mabry said, Kanode called to say, “come by my house now. I’ve got a way to get you out” of the initiation proces
Mabry testified that when he arrived at Kanode’s Dublin residence, Kanode “got in the van and put a knife to my throat … He asked me, “are you ready to die tonight? If you don’t do everything I tell you to do, you and your family will die.”
As they rode around Dublin and Pulaski, Mabry says Kanode was prodding him for the name of someone “I had a grudge against” who could be the target of a murder. He contends Kanode also suggested getting “a teenager off the street” for a victim.
“He said he would kill my family first so I could suffer through it before it was my turn,” Mabry told the jury.
When he insisted there was no one he begrudged enough to kill, Mabry said, Kanode directed him to Wright’s residence in Radford.
Mabry claims he never knew Wright prior to that night, but Wright’s roommate testified Mabry was a regular visitor to the residence. She did, however, indicate Mabry wouldn’t talk to anyone and looked as if he was scared when they came to the residence that night.
Returning to Pulaski at Kanode’s suggestion, Mabry claims the three of them went to Bloomer’s Mountain before Kanode had him drive to the home of Virginia Robinson off Vista Road in Pulaski. As they drove up to the residence, Kanode “shoved his hand in the pocket of my sweatshirt and I could feel the knife. He said ‘do what you’ve got to do.’”
Kanode stayed at Robinson’s residence as Mabry and Wright headed back up Bloomer’s Mountain.
Mabry says he had Wright get out of the van when it slid off the road and became stuck.
In rambling and confusing testimony, Mabry said he intended to tell Wright about Kanode’s plot to have her killed and then find a way to keep himself and his family safe when he got the van unstuck. However, he says the knife fell from his pocket and the switchblade sprung open when it hit the ground.
He contends Wright saw the knife, “misunderstood” his intentions and started to run away. In his effort to catch up with her and explain that he wasn’t going to kill her, they fell and “that’s when it happened.”
“You killed her didn’t you?” Venzie said.
Mabry indicated he did, but he never actually stated that he murdered her. He said she was “sitting against the bank and she passed.”
Mabry suggested Wright was accidentally stabbed in the chest as he tried to keep her from hitting him.
However, on cross-examination he admitted stabbing Wright twice in the back even though she had pleadaed with him not to hurt her and she was having increasing difficulty breathing.
Mabry acknowledged he never tried to get help for Mabry. He said once he realized she was dying, “it wasn’t long after that she passed.”
He said he doesn’t know that getting her help would have done any good anyway.
Asked how he was felling after killing Wright, Mabry said, “Angry at myself. Upset with myself. Confused. In turmoil. I couldn’t decide what to do.”
He said he dragged her body into a ravine, placed the knife in a bag and pouch and headed back to Robinson’s residence.
When he got there, Kanode had just left in a taxi, according to testimony. Mabry said he called Kanode and Kanode told him to “get to my house right now.
“I asked him what he had got me into. He said not to worry he would fix everything,” Mabry said of Kanode.
When he got to Kanode’s residence, Mabry said Kanode asked to see the knife as proof he had murdered Wright. He said Kanode commented that there wasn’t much blood on the knife and that it didn’t look like real blood.
Mabry said Kanode gave him a “story to use” if police questioned him about Wright. He said he first stuck with that story when he was questioned. He acknowledged telling police several different false stories about what happened.
He said he at first though Kanode had him “covered” and everything would be okay.
“I was grasping at straws, I guess you could say,” Mabry said of the stories he told police. “I hadn’t fully grasped” what he had done and “how it affected others.”
On cross-examination, Mabry admitted writing a letter to prosecutors refusing to testify without having more than a dozen years taken off his sentence.
But when it all came down to it, he said, “justice had to be done.” He said he is serving time for his involvement in the murder, now it’s time for Kanode to pay for his involvement.
Several times Mabry clashed with Venzie over whether statements he made to police were referring to the Pagan’s motorcycle gang or the Pagan religion, which he used to practice. He asked Venzie whether he wanted to “split hairs” over comments he made or “get into theological discussions.”
When Venzie pointed out conflicts between statements Mabry gave to police and his testimony Monday, Mabry said he had too much on his mind (the night of the murder) to pay attention to details. He kept saying his mind was in a “whirlwind” that night.
Asked by Venize when he changed from saving Wright’s life to killing her, Mabry responded, “to be honest, I don’t know.”
In her testimony, Robinson said she couldn’t remember details as to what she and Kanode talked about while Mabry and Wright were gone. However, she said one comment Kanode made was odd and stuck with her.
“He said ‘that girl (Wright) is the president’s daughter. I hope Rick doesn’t mistake her for his mark,’” Robinson said.
She said she thought the statement was strange, but she didn’t ask him about it.
She told Venzie she doesn’t remember whether Kanode expressed any concern about whether Wright was safe with Mabry.
According to testimony by Sheriff Jim Davis, Kanode told police Mabry didn’t return to his residence after leaving with Wright. However, confronted with the fact Kanode’s wife (or girlfriend) told police he came by the residence, Davis said Kanode indicated he was drunk that night and doesn’t remember.

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