By BRIANA BARKER
Rocky Mount Police Department investigators ruled a Nov. 29 death to be a homicide and arrested a 35-year-old Martinsville man Thursday, Dec. 5.
RMPD responded to a North Main Street residence late Friday, Nov. 29. Officers found 68-year-old James Kirby, dead of an unknown cause. Kirby was taken to Western Virginia Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsy, where the coroner’s examination determined Kirby was strangled to death.
“Our officers and investigators have worked with other agencies to collect evidence, analyze data and determine whether an arrest was warranted,” said Rocky Mount Police Chief K.E. Criner. “Careful analysis of the Medical Examiner’s preliminary findings corroborated with evidence, and after questioning of a person of interest, our investigators have placed charges and arrested a suspect.”
When officers responded to Kirby’s home on Nov. 29 they said his car was missing. The car was traced to a Martinsville residence early the following day, and an occupant of that residence — Derry Dee Finney — was determined to be in possession of the vehicle. Finney was questioned and released, pending further investigation, but was arrested Thursday on a felony charge of unauthorized use of a vehicle. Further investigation led to the murder charge.
Assistant Town Manager and RMPD spokesperson Matt Hankins said he could not comment on what took place during the interrogation, but that after interviewing Finney, the murder charge was added.
He confirmed that Kirby and Finney knew each other. Finney is being held without bond at the Western Virginia Regional Jail. Officials say additional charges may be pending.
Criner thanked other agencies providing assistance on the investigation, including the Martinsville Police Department, Western Virginia Office of the State Medical Examiner and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.
Finney has a pretrial date currently scheduced for April 15, 2020 at 10:30 a.m.