Charges of first-degree murder for a Christmas Day incident will move forward after General District Judge Hugh Campbell determined Tuesday there was enough cause for the case against Keith Wood, 53, of Mechanicsville, to continue to the Grand Jury.
Campbell said the witnesses and photographs presented by the prosecutors did not reveal the exact events that played out on the night the victim died, but the number of wounds on the victim led him to the decision.
An autopsy report revealed that victim, George A. Teal, died of “blunt force trauma to the head,” said Chief Deputy Shari Skipper of the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.
The preliminary hearing held March 25 was Wood’s second. Prosecutors were required to present enough substantial evidence to demonstrate to the judge that an actual crime was committed.
Wood’s Attorney Michael Clower argued that his client’s actions on Dec. 25 were not pre-meditated and out of self-defense.
That day, the Sheriff’s Office responded to a call that a person was unresponsive in Wood’s home in the 8000 block of Peaks Road in Mechanicsville. First responders found Teal on the floor suffering from apparent trauma.
Teal had life-threatening injuries and was transported to Memorial Regional Medical Center. Then, Teal was moved to VCU Medical Center, where he later died from the injuries.
First responders to the scene collected several items at Wood’s residence including a grey shirt, white towel and hat with red stains, according to a search warrant executed by the Sheriff’s Office. The warrant also revealed that officers gathered a box cutter, 5-pound weight, small scissors and other household items.
Officers also found a wallet that belonged to the victim. In court, the officers said the item included a picture ID belonging to Teal.
According to the warrant, Wood called the police asking for help because he found a “dead guy” in his home.
Teal was found lying on the floor in the workout room at Wood’s residence, according to court documents. Wood told officers that he asked for help with a bench press, but Teal put the barbell to his throat and he passed out. When Wood woke up, he found the victim on his floor with fatal body and head injuries.
In the search warrant, officers said Wood recalled the two individuals hanging out on Christmas Eve, playing on the computer, drinking alcohol and allegedly smoking marijuana.