Murder trial postponed

WOODSTOCK – A two-day jury trial scheduled for a man charged with second-degree murder in a shooting at the Ramada Inn in Strasburg was postponed Monday until mid-March.

Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp rescheduled the trial after Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Wiseley told him that one of her witnesses, a state medical examiner, was unable to testify.

“She wasn’t available,” Wiseley said after the hearing. “She was scheduled for another trial.”

The defendant, Lucas Scott Ward, 35, formerly of 556 Thompson St., Strasburg, faces second-degree murder, attempted rape, malicious wounding and several other charges arising from the shooting death of Corey Patrick O’Neil, 42, of Maryland in the early morning hours of Oct. 26.

Authorities say a witness saw Ward shoot and kill O’Neil in a room at the Ramada Inn. Law enforcement officials say Ward attacked a woman in the same room as the shooting. The woman, Sadie Melissa Beck, 26, of Knox, Pennsylvania, was hospitalized and treated for a broken arm and cuts to the neck, police said.

Strasburg police say O’Neil died from a single shot fired from a .38 caliber revolver held by Ward.

Police said O’Neill died in the hotel room around 3 a.m. moments before town officers and members of the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the scene.

Ward, who appeared in court Monday, is being held without bond in the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com