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Sheriff Pool game led to fatal stabbing

by James Fisher

REGIONAL WRITER

FAIRMONT -- A dispute about a game of pool apparently led to a fatal stabbing Friday morning at a Marion County bar, according to Marion County Sheriff Ron Watkins.

James Louis Tackish, 26, of Fairmont, was arrested about 90 minutes after the stabbing and charged with first-degree murder for allegedly killing John T. Wadsworth, 41, of Morgantown, Watkins said. He is being held in the Marion County Jail without bond pending a hearing in circuit court.

"They weren't playing for money and the victim was not a frequent patron of the bar, but Mr. Tackish and the other male and female were regular customers," Watkins said, referring to two people who also are facing possible charges in connection with the incident.

Watkins said the second male and the female, whom he declined to identify because they have not yet been arrested, helped Tackish flee Jake's Bar after the stabbing and then provided him with a place to shower and change clothes.

Detective Doris James said that after meeting with Marion County Prosecuting Attorney Richard Bunner, police opted not to arrest the unidentified couple at this time. Watkins said the two most likely face charges of being accessories after the fact.

Watkins said the female is on probation in Harrison County and sheriff's detectives are working closely with probation officers there to determine if she violated her probation by being inside a bar.

Wadsworth died after being stabbed in the throat about 1:30 a.m. Friday with what police believe was a pocket knife, Watkins said.

Wadsworth and the other man apparently had been involved in a dispute when Tackish pulled out the knife and slashed Wadsworth across the neck, Watkins said. Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crime, he said.

Watkins said Monday that there appeared to be two stab wounds, one in Wadsworth's ear and one on his neck. A HealthNet helicopter was summoned and Marion County Emergency Squad members responded to the scene, but Wadsworth died at the bar, he said.

Watkins said both the other man and the woman were at the bar at the time of the stabbing and the woman left with the two men, although she did not drive or own the vehicle. The trio apparently went to her White Hall area apartment so Tackish and the other man could shower and change clothes.

Tackish's clothing, keys and the vehicle the two men used to flee the scene were confiscated, Watkins said. Tackish's personal items will be sent to the West Virginia State Police crime lab for testing. The pocket knife that police believe was used in the killing was recovered from the back seat of the vehicle, Watkins said.

"It's just such a senseless death," Watkins said. "A game of pool isn't worth taking someone's life."

Regional writer James Fisher can be reached at 626-1446 or by e-mail at jfisher@exponent-telegram.com.

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