Murder trial in post-COVID-19 era begins in Kanawha Co.

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — It was back in September of 2018 that Cynthia Gatewood was accused of fatally stabbing Cheryl Fisher in a Sissonville parking lot after an argument.

Now, nearly two years later, her trial finally began in Kanawha County with jury selection.

“It’s a completely different atmosphere than we normally have,” said Kanawha County Sheriff Mike Rutherford.

Gatewood’s trial was scheduled for March in the newer judicial annex building when the courts shut down.

Sheriff Rutherford says despite COVID-19 delaying the trial, they had a time frame they needed to meet.

“By the State Constitution, we’re required to do anyone’s trial as expeditiously as possible,” he said.

The county turned to the larger “ceremonial room” in the old courthouse which was not in current use.

They socially distanced tables and chairs, installed plexiglass and prepared hand sanitizers and masks.

The jury is also working closely with the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department to stay safe says Rutherford.

According to Rutherford, future trials will be conducted in the same manner.

The trial is expected to last ten days.

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