POMEROY, OH (WOWK) – A man accused in a double murder spanning two states was in court today for charges connected to one of the deaths.

Wayne Leib was arraigned in Meigs County Court this morning, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022 on aggravated murder charges for the Friday, Sept. 30 shooting death of 62-year-old Dwayne Qualls.

The court set Leib’s bond at $2 million, cash-only. In Ohio, the maximum sentence for aggravated murder charges, should Leib be found guilty, is life in prison without parole.

Leib is currently being held at Middleport Jail in Ohio and will appear in Meigs County Court again at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6 for a preliminary hearing.

According to Pomeroy Police Chief Chris Pitchford, Qualls was found shot in his own home on Spring Avenue Friday night. 

“We arrived on scene, we found the victim Dwayne Qualls deceased in his residence and spoke to a witness,” Chief Pitchford said. “We got some information from him and what he witnessed, and we deducted a suspect from that which would’ve been Wayne Leib.”

Leib has also been identified as a suspect in a murder investigation in Mason, West Virginia, just 10 minutes away from the scene in Pomeroy, Ohio.

Mason Police Chief Colton McKinney says Jason Pierce, 34, of Racine, was found with multiple gunshot and stab wounds in a home on Front Street in Mason. Charges in that investigation are expected to be filed today, Tuesday, Oct. 4.

McKinney says authorities believe the murder in Mason happened first, and then the murder in Pomeroy happened later that evening.

“We do believe that both homicides are connected,” said Chief McKinney. “We will be working with the West Virginia State Police crime lab along with the Ohio BCI and the Pomeroy police department to further along this investigation.”

Both Chief McKinney and Chief Pitchford said a motive is still unknown at this time. 

According to court records, Leib was previously charged with burglary in April 2017 which he pled guilty to. He was then charged in November 2017 for not paying child support, which he again pled guilty to. 

His most recent prior was in April 2018, when he was charged with trafficking and possession of counterfeit controlled substance.