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Charleston’s lone 2013 murder marks 20-year low

By Ashley B. Craig

Charleston Daily Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — With less than a week left in 2013, Charleston police have responded to just one murder within city limits this year.

Officers are calling it a record low for at least the last 20 years.

The number of homicides per year is unpredictable, said Lt. Steve Cooper, chief of detectives, but it was a relief to have gone a whole year with only one murder. The relief was evident, especially when as recent as 2010 the city saw 11 people murdered.

“Murder is a very difficult crime to predict or deter,” Cooper said. “Most victims are known to the suspects in one way or another, either domestic relationships or more commonly through a criminal affiliation.

“Most murders are not random.”

He said most murder victims are involved in some kind of criminal activity, but there have been instances from time to time where the victim was “perfectly innocent.”

This year’s lone homicide, a murder-suicide, was such a case.

It happened on a cold February night on the city’s West Side…

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