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Conviction in 1984 murder of prostitute in Roanoke

A West Virginia native was convicted Wednesday in a decades-old killing in Roanoke.

Roanoke Circuit Judge William Broadhurst found 49-year-old William R. Hagy Jr. guilty of first-degree murder in the 1984 strangling of 21-year-old prostitute Cynthia McCray. Broadhurst heard the case without a jury.

Hagy faces life in prison when he is sentenced June 22.

Broadhurst said the verdict hinged on the testimony of an inmate who said Hagy confessed.

Roy Alonzo Dickinson testified Monday that Hagy told him he killed McCray in his car, then had sex with the corpse and dumped it beneath Interstate 581. Dickinson said Hagy drew him a map of the crime scene, which was presented as evidence at the trial.

Dickinson said Hagy told him he strangled McCray in a drug rage because she wanted to quit swapping sex for marijuana and instead make Hagy pay cash.

Deputy commonwealth's attorney Betty Jo Anthony said Hagy had been staying near where McCray's body was found and admitted hustling for money in the same spot.

Defense attorney Gary Lumsden said DNA tests show that Hagy had sex with McCray but couldn't prove he committed any other crime against her.

“Given her lifestyle, it could have been there hours before, it could have been there days before,” Lumsden said in his closing argument.

Hagy must still undergo trial in another 1985 slaying and a 1984 rape. Authorities charged Hagy in all three cases in 2007 based on new DNA evidence. He's currently serving a 50-year prison term for a different 1984 rape and was scheduled for parole next year.

Hagy was born in Welch, W.Va., and grew up with his mother and coal-mining father in nearby Anawalt, just north of the Virginia border.

-- The Roanoke Times

By Washington Post Editors  |  March 24, 2010; 2:23 PM ET
Categories:  From the Courthouse , Homicide , Virginia  
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