MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department has released the full story of a murder that happened in Monongalia County back in May.
On May 7, deputies with the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department responded to the area of Round Bottom Road in Monongalia County for a report of a body in the roadway, according to a criminal complaint.
When deputies arrived, they confirmed that there was a dead man, whom they identified as Matthew Moore, 46. While on the scene, they determined that Moore had died of gunshot wounds; the West Virginia Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death a homicide, deputies said.
While processing the crime scene, deputies found a cell phone on Moore’s body which belonged to Cleotis Eppes, 48, of Harper Woods, Michigan. The phone showed communications between Eppes and Moore stating that Moore “owed money to Eppes for missing drugs” and “that Eppes was upset over this,” according to the complaint.
Through an investigation, deputies were able to determine that Eppes “who is engaged in an ongoing conspiracy to sell/distribute controlled substances with the victim” conspired with Arlo Romano, 42, of Morgantown, “to drive the victim to Round Bottom Road” in Monongalia County and “then murder him,” deputies said.
The complaint said that location and communications records indicated that Eppes and Romano were in the area of where the Moore was staying on the day his body was discovered. Records also suggested that Eppes and Romano “travelling to Round Bottom Road” … “during the approximate time of the murder” and that “Romano communicated with the victim just prior,” according to the complaint.
In an interview, Eppes “confirmed that he was involved with the victim to sell/distribute controlled substances and that the victim owed him money”; Eppes also “confirmed being with Romano” at the time of the murder, and that the two were “trying to locate the victim because of the drug debit,” deputies said.
Eppes is charged with first-degree murder, among other crimes. He is being held in North Central Regional Jail. As of Thursday morning, Romano is still on the run and has a warrant out for his arrest for murder.