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TruTV to air Charleston man’s trial

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Ethan Chic-Colbert photo from WOWK Ethan Chic-Colbert photo from WOWK

The trial of a Charleston man found guilty of beating his girlfriend in the middle of Interstate 77 and neglecting an 11-year-old child who later was struck and killed by an oncoming vehicle is getting national attention.

TruTV will broadcast Ethan Chic-Colbert's trial and sentencing on its show, "In Session" starting today from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The show will continue at the same times Nov. 16 and Nov. 19-21.

"It seemed like a very fascinating and an unfortunate event that surrounded the case," said Scott Tufts, executive producer of In Session. "We have a very dedicated following of our audience. In many cases, stories that impact families and dynamics of a family are stories that really draw interest from our audience."

In a July 10 verdict, a Kanawha County jury found Chic-Colbert guilty of domestic battery, child neglect by a parent guardian or custodian resulting in the death of a child and gross child neglect creating the risk of serious bodily injury or death.

He was sentenced Aug. 15 to between six and 30 years in prison, according to a state Supreme Court news release. 

According to a previous story in The State Journal, Kanawha County prosecutors asserted Chic-Colbert dragged his girlfriend, Lynitrah Woodson, out of the car, straddled her and punched her with both fists.

Meanwhile, Woodson's 11-year-old son, Jahlil Clements, ran from the car across two lanes of traffic to try to flag down motorists.

In his testimony, Chic-Colbert said Woodson grabbed him as he tried to get out of the car and said the fight continued in the middle of the road. To make her stop, he said he slammed her against the ground.

Chic-Colbert said he did not see the car strike Jahlil. 

Woodson, however, said she blacked out and the car hit the median. When she woke up, she said she saw Chic-Colbert trying to fight her.

"He had a hold of my hair and my arm and was just pulling with all his might," she said in her testimony.

Prosecutors said Chic-Colbert left the scene right after the fight and did not return. Police later discovered his blue jeans containing his wallet and photo ID beside the road.

Tufts said it isn't often that cases from West Virginia end up on TruTV, but this isn't the first case they have aired.

"In fact, this is the second trial we've covered in the last three years," Tufts said.

The previous West Virginia trial to get coverage from TruTV took place in 2009 stemming from the case of a military deserter charged in the murder of Rev. Mark McCalla, a pastor of Highlawn Presbyterian Church in Wayne County. This trial aired on "In Session" in March and April of 2010.

McCalla's body was found in 2008 at a firing range at Beech Fork Wildlife Management area.

According to previous WOWK stories, U.S. Army Pfc. Stephen Wilson, of Cincinnati, was convicted on first-degree aggravated robbery and second-degree murder in this case. Daniel Smith, of Newport News, was convicted on first-degree murder.

Wilson was sentenced to 160 years and Smith received a life sentence, according to media reports.