Man on Trial Shoots Himself in Head to Avoid Jail


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Tracy Orr, 51, was being tried on one felony count of fleeing from police in a vehicle with reckless indifference.

"(He was going) speeds in excess of over 85 miles per hour on the back roads in Berkeley County," said Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Tim Helman.

He was being tried at the Berkeley County Circuit Court and the trial was expected to resume Thursday morning.

"I got a call on my cell phone from the investigating officer saying 'hey Tim guess what, you're never going to believe what happened,'" Helman said. "That's when I received the news that the defendant had shot himself in the head."

Helman said Orr is expected to recover from the gunshot wound from the .22 caliber rifle he used. Even though Orr shot himself in the head halfway through the trial, Helman said he wanted to continue the trial regardless if Orr was in the courtroom or not.

"My argument was this was a voluntary act he did because he told the police when they arrived at his home, 'I shot myself because I didn't want to go to jail,'" Helman said.

Helman's request was denied and instead Judge Gray Silver granted defense attorney, Craig Manford's motion requesting a mistrial. Helman said they are going to try Orr again if he survives.

"This really is a human tragedy, the life of Tracy Orr," Helman added. "Just everything, his entire life up until this point. His poor choices, his criminal activity, and it all coming down to this where he feels like there's no way out, there's no hope for his life and he has to pull the trigger. It really is a sad, sad story."

Helman added Orr is also facing new charges of arson and insurance fraud after allegedly setting fire to his store in Tomahawk because he was behind on payments and needed insurance money. Orr also has a prior felony conviction for conspiracy to distribute cocaine. A date is set for July 28th to discuss where the trial goes from here.

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