Preliminary hearing held for Kearneysville woman facing murder charges

Crime

MARTINSBURG, W. Va. (WDVM) – 30-year-old Kearneysville resident, Rida Hendershot, appeared in Berkeley County Magistrate Court for a preliminary hearing regarding a shooting incident she was involved in on May 25th, 2021.

Hendershot allegedly shot and killed a man who has now been identified as her ex-husband Matt Hendershot. Before further investigation by the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department, Hendershot was originally charged with wanton endangerment and negligence with a firearm in connection with a shooting incident. Later in June, those charges were changed to first-degree murder.

She appeared in court for a preliminary hearing before Magistrate William Norris. The case is being prosecuted by West Virginia Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Kinser.

The investigator in the case Deputy Amber Weidman from the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department testified. Deputy Weidman highlighted she attended the autopsy report of Mr. Hendershot and that the Sheriff’s Department is still waiting on the results of the gunshot residue test conducted on Rida Hendershot from the State Crime Lab. She also explained the reasoning behind the heightened charges against Hendershot.

Deputy Weidman stated the trajectory of the bullet as well as the specific safety features on the gun used in the incident lead the Sheriff’s Department to bring forward murder charges against Hendershot. Weidman explained the department sought information and guidance from a gun range instructor about the firearm in question. This revealed that there are two safety features on the 1911 pistol Hendershot used in the incident.

Weidman explained that in order to fire the gun, a thumb safety and a palm grip safety must be disengaged. The palm grip safety must be compressed, or have pressure on the mechanism, in order for the gun to fire.

Deputy Weidman also stated the gun in question was found in the kitchen without a magazine or a round in the chamber and had the hammer pulled back.

Furthermore, during a walk-through of the Hendershot residence, Deputy Weidman found a loaded magazine in the bedroom as well as a bullet shell casing on the bed where Hendershot told investigators her ex-husband was sitting when she shot him.

Members of the victim’s family were also present at the hearing, wearing T-shirt’s that read “Justice for Matt.” As Hendershot sat down between her two defense lawyers, Brad Wright and Mark Sutton, she could be seen shaking her head after looking at the victim’s family members.

After Deputy Weidman’s questioning by the prosecution and defense concluded, Magistrate Norris ruled the state has probable cause that Hendershot murdered her ex-husband with a 1911 pistol.

Prosecutors plan to present this case to the next term of the Berkeley County Grand Jury.

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