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Second person charged in Kanawha County murder

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Kanawha County deputies have charged a second person in connection with a woman’s death.

Virginia Maria Smith

Virginia Marie Smith, 29, of Charleston, was arrested Thursday and charged with first-degree murder. It’s alleged Smith shot and killed Cheyenne Johnson last Thursday in Kanawha County. Johnson was reported missing in Jackson County late last week.

Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Greg Young said during a Thursday news conference that Smith and co-defendant Michael Smith, 41, of Alderson, were acquaintances. They are not related but were in an intimate relationship at the time of the murder. They were both acquaintances of Johnson.

It was Michael Smith who originally told police he killed Johnson and dumped her body in a well. He was charged with murder Monday. Young said Michael Smith remains charged with murder but he didn’t fire the gun.

Michael Smith

Young was asked Thursday if Michael Smith was trying to cover for Virginia Smith?

“On the shooting part that appears to be the case,” Young said.

Young said a 10-year-old witnessed the shooting and provided new information to investigators. The juvenile was interviewed at the Child Advocacy Center.

Police are still searching for a motive.

“Investigators are still trying to develop what the motive is,” Young said.

Cheyenne Johnson

A criminal complaint mentions the selling of a vehicle.

Johnson’s body was found in a well on Britton Ridge Road Monday afternoon.

Young said Thursday there were multiple injuries on Johnson’s body but it was the gunshot that killed her.

“The autopsy report is not complete but the gunshot wound would be unsurvivable and there were other wounds also,” Young said.

Virginia Smith and Michael Smith are both in the South Central Regional Jail without bail.

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