Trial Set For Woman Accused Of Killing Husband For Life Insurance
HUNTINGTON – A trial date has been set for a woman accused of fatally stabbing her husband, who she said fell on a letter opener, before quickly attempting to receive money from his life insurance policy in 2017.
Jennifer Lynn Via, 49, was charged with murder 10 days after she called 911 at about 8 p.m. Nov. 4, 2017, to report her husband, Thomas Via, had been stabbed in the back at their residence in the 900 block of 28th Street in Huntington.
On the night of her husband’s death, Via told 911 the stabbing instrument had been a letter opener, but police said he had been stabbed with a 14-inch-long decorative dagger that is believed to have penetrated seven inches into his back, striking his heart and causing him to bleed to death internally.
Cabell Circuit Judge Gregory Howard on Monday set the trial date for May 14. A hearing prior to trial will be held April 3 to determine whether Cabell County Prosecutor Sean “Corky” Hammers and defense attorneys Kerry Nessel and Abe Saad can introduce at trial past allegations about domestic violence between the couple.
The defense has argued Via was a battered woman, but detectives previously testified neighbors had seen Via as the aggressor in the relationship.
Police found Via had allegedly given several stories of how her husband was stabbed and attempted days after his death to collect an $80,000 life insurance policy that had been increased weeks before the incident.
The varying stories included that he had slipped on water and fell into an old knife or screwdriver. Huntington Detective Chris Sperry said he had been told that Via had been mimicking a ninja superhero movie and accidentally stabbed her husband as he stood up from a bent-over position.
Nessel requested Via be transported back to Western Regional Jail from Southwestern Regional Jail in Logan County prior to the hearing date, because he said travel was hindering his ability to speak with his client. Via was transported there previously due to issues with other inmates and her being a possible witness to another crime.
In an interview prior to her husband’s death, Via spoke to The Herald-Dispatch about the homicide investigation of a man found deceased in his vehicle in the 2800 block of Hite Avenue in October 2017.
Nessel also requested his client be released from custody on lockdown home confinement, but Howard denied the request. Hammers said nothing had changed since her last request, which was also denied, and she should not be released.
Follow reporter Courtney Hessler at Facebook.com/CHesslerHD and via Twitter @HesslerHD.
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