Dec. 11, 2013 — Jury selection began Tuesday for a Grayson man accused of manslaughter.
The selection process took most of the day for the trial of Clifford “Boomer” Cathey, 35, who was indicted for first degree manslaughter, a Class B felony, in connection with the New Year's Day beating death of Heath Toney in 2012.
A panel of seven men and six women will hear testimony in the case beginning Wednesday morning. The trial is expected to last a week.
During opening statements, Commonwealth's Attorney Brandon Ison said that Toney's death was caused by a kick to the head, allegedly delivered by Cathey.
However, defense attorney Brian Hewlett argued that no evidence can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Cathey dealt the killing blow.
Cathey's co-defendant, Brian Rice, pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of facilitation to manslaughter, a Class D felony, in February of this year in exchange for his promise to testify against Cathey.
Rice was sentenced to five years, which will run consecutively with any other time he may be required to serve. Rice was out on parole when the Toney beating occurred.
Toney was in an unresponsive coma in the neuro- intensive care unit at Cabell-Huntington Hospital for 13 days before he succumbed to his injuries.
Cathey is also charged with being a persistent felony offender.
The trial will resume today.