UPDATE: Prosecutors drop murder, kidnapping charges against Fairmont man

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MARION COUNTY, W.Va. (WDTV) - UPDATE: 6/5/19 10 A.M.

Prosecutors have dropped murder and kidnapping charges against a man accused of holding a minor captive for nearly a year and killing her unborn baby.

The charges against Brian Merchant Jones, 20, were dropped after prosecutors reviewed forensic evidence, according to Marion County Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey Freeman.

However, Jones was indicted Tuesday by a Marion County grand jury on two counts of malicious assault. He could face two to 10 years in prison for each count if he's convicted, Freeman said.

Jones is scheduled to be arraigned on June 12. No trial date has not been set.


A Fairmont man is facing multiple charges, including murder, after allegedly holding a minor captive for nearly a year and killing her unborn baby.

According to criminal complaint in Marion County Magistrate Court, the victim was found almost a year after she was reported as a runaway.

She told police she had been held captive by Brian Merchant-Jones, 20, the entire time. She also told police that he beat her and monitored her contact with the outside world. She said Merchant-Jones even had his friends keep track of her whereabouts while he was in prison.

The victim also told police that she became pregnant by Merchant-Jones last year and that he kicked her in the stomach, causing her to have a miscarriage. She told police she buried the baby, whose body was found by police.

Merchant-Jones is charged with first-degree murder, malicious assault and kidnapping.