WV State Code: 61-2-18 reads, "If a person fights a duel in this State, and in so doing inflicts a mortal wound, he shall be deemed guilty of murder. And if a person resident in this State, by previous agreement made within the same, fights a duel without the State, and in so doing inflicts a mortal wound, he shall be deemed guilty of murder in this State."
Friday, April 20, 2007, what started out as a gesture of friendship resulted in a charge of "murder by duel" in McDowell County. Dana Martin, 39, was using his ATV to help a friend move. Steven Bryant Simpson Sr., 49, apparently took exception to the fact that Mr. Martin was driving back and forth through his community. He claimed that Mr. Martin was driving too fast and was creating a disturbance with the noise. Mr Simpson made the decision to confront Mr. Martin in order to make a "citizen's arrest". According to witnesses when the two men interacted an altercation ensued. At one point during the heated argument Simpson had Martin pinned against the fence. In what should have ended as a war of words, both men went their separate ways. However in a brilliant move on both their parts, both men decided to return to the scene armed with weapons and a wild west shootout occurred. Mr. Martin succumbed after being struck twice. Shortly thereafter he was pronounced dead at Welch Community Hospital.
Murder by dueling is a felony, the penalty for which is the same as first-degree murder, life in prison. After carefully weighing his options Mr. Simpson plead guilty to two lesser offenses, involuntary manslaughter and brandishing a firearm.