CLARKSBURG — In an interview Monday morning with The Exponent Telegram, U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II didn’t rule out the possibility of a death penalty prosecution in a shooting that left four dead in Clarksburg last week.
But, Ihlenfeld also appeared to hint that whether his office initiates that process could depend on what the state does with the case of the alleged shooter, Sidney Muller.
Muller, 27, of Fairmont, is charged with four counts of murder. He’s accused by police of shooting dead two Clarksburg men while allegedly trying to collect a $10,000 drug debt. And, he’s also alleged to have fatally shot two potential witnesses — newspaper carriers on their morning route — as he fled the pre-dawn scene.
The Exponent Telegram asked Ihlenfeld about whether the government could apply to this case a section of U.S. Code. It allows for a potential death penalty sentence if a firearm is used to commit murder during a drug trafficking crime.
“We are going to review all of the reports and all of the information that’s gathered by the investigating agencies, and make a decision whether there’s anything we can do to assist in this matter,” Ihlenfeld replied.
He added that should his office become involved, he would have to seek permission for a death penalty prosecution from U.S. Attorney Eric Holder.
We’ll have more in Tuesday’s print and electronic editions.