File photo courtesy Ben Queen Photography
Metz was originally arrested last year but the charges were dropped in November. He was rearrested Thursday.

WESTON, W.Va. — Charges have been refiled against a Lewis County man accused of killing his mother and grandmother in 1999.  Joseph Metz was arrested Thursday morning in connection with the deaths of Maxine Stalnaker and Mary Friend.

Charges against Metz, 39, of Horner, and two others, David Hughes, 58, and Charles Freeman, 51, both of Ohio, were dismissed without prejudice in November at the request of Lewis County Prosecuting Attorney Mike Smith.

Smith reportedly made the request to avoid a potential conflict because the magistrate who issued the criminal complaints against Metz, Hughes and Freeman is a former law enforcement officer and was involved in the initial investigation when the two Jane Lew women went missing 14 years ago.

All three defendants had been charged with two counts of murder, two counts of kidnapping and two counts of robbery. Hughes was recharged Dec. 5 with conspiracy to commit robbery against the two women.

Metz was arrested at his home Thursday morning without incident. Lewis County Sheriff Adam Gissy said justice will be sought for Stalnaker and Friend.

“The terrible incident that occurred in December of 1999 has haunted the family and friends of these two innocent women,” the sheriff said in a prepared release. “We hope that through the adjudication process the defendant will be held accountable for his actions.”

The women’s bodies have never been found. The criminal complaint said Metz told Hughes he shot his mother Friend, 46, and grandmother Stalnaker, 69, and took their bodies away.

Investigators had alleged Hughes, the former owner of Wilderness Plantation in Jane Lew, ordered Metz and Freeman to kill Stalnaker and Friend because he believed they had a journal full of information about illegal criminal transactions involving the men and the Wilderness Plantation.

Hughes, investigators claimed, was worried the women would turn over the information to law enforcement officers.

Metz is being held without bail in the Central Regional Jail.




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  • Dr. Sarcasm

    So.... Hughes had some kind of power over Metz to order him to kill his mother and grandmother? Hughes was charged first with lesser crimes? Sounds like a frame job to me

  • Mr Bullsnip

    Anyone that could kill their mother or grandmother needs to die the same way.

    They do not need to be a burden on the good tax paying citizens of West Virginia.