Police: Machete Used in Moundsville Murder-Suicide
MOUNDSVILLE — Police responding to a frantic 911 call stumbled upon a grisly scene Saturday, finding one man dead and another moribund after a brutal attack with a machete while the victim showered.
A little after 2 p.m. Saturday, police say Nicholas Ryan White, 40, ambushed and murdered Thomas Neal McKeever, 71, while the latter was showering at their residence at 1409 Second Street. Moundsville Police Lt. Steve Kosek said two others were home at the time of the attack, with Marshall County 911 receiving a frantic, screaming phone call from a woman while the attack took place. She and another man living at the house were said to have attempted to intervene in the attack, but without success.
Kosek said McKeever was still clinging to life when police arrived moments after the attack, but he perished from his numerous wounds and was declared dead at the scene. White was said to have shot himself with McKeever’s pistol after the attack, minutes before police arrived.
Kosek said the fatal blow seems to have been dealt when White used a survival knife to cut McKeever’s throat.
“From witnesses and from the evidence, it appears that Mr. White attacked Mr. McKeever while Mr. McKeever was in the shower with a machete,” Kosek said. “A smaller knife was also used, and that appears to have been the cause of death. … Mr. White retrieved a .45 caliber handgun belonging to Mr. McKeever and took his life just prior to our arrival, within minutes.”
Kosek described the attack as “gruesome” and said that the first officer on the scene was the department’s youngest. No motive was provided, but Kosek said White had a history of mental health and substance abuse problems.
“(McKeever) was clinging to life as police arrived, but he expired shortly thereafter. … He was repeatedly struck with a machete, and his throat was slit with a knife. … The motive is unclear. They said he’s suffered from longtime psychiatric problems and substance abuse problems, although, specifically, we do not have a motive nailed down.”
An autopsy on both men is being undertaken at the state medical examiner’s office in Charleston. The other two residents of the house were checked into WVU Medicine Reynolds Memorial Hospital. The house is not being held as a crime scene, and has been returned to the family.
“The department’s officers send their condolences to the family,” Kosek added.
This is the first murder in Moundsville in several years, as Kosek could not recall the last such tragedy in the city. In June 2016, 15-year-old Moundsville resident Kyle Morgan was found murdered in Wheeling. Kosek said Monday that he was still investigating Morgan’s death. The previous year, in September, 79-year-old Carl “Mike” Thompson, also of Moundsville, was shot and later found dead near Proctor. Both murders remain unsolved.