BERKELEY COUNTY, W. Va. (WDVM) — A Berkeley County woman is now facing first-degree murder charges after fatally shooting a man in the face in May.
30-year-old Rida Hendershot was originally charged with wanton endangerment and negligence when handling a loaded firearm after the fatal incident occurred on May 25th on the 3300 block of Charles Town Road in Kearneysville. The male victim, who Hendershot was living with at the time, was pronounced dead at the scene after suffering injuries to the facial region. Investigators say the victim was shot from approximately 6 to 7 feet away with an Ed Brown 1911 9MM handgun that was located after the incident but did not have a magazine loaded into the firearm.
Charging documents obtained by WDVM state Hendershot willingly spoke with investigators about the incident, claiming she and the deceased male victim were moving guns from the living room to his room. Hendershot then stated both parties were in the kitchen in close proximity, claiming the man held the gun first before her.
The charging documents also say Hendershot told investigators she was “normally good with shooting” and was unsure of what happened stating, “Last when it [the gun] shot, it was my fault” and “I didn’t know he put it [a magazine] in because it was always empty.” Hendershot only realized she had shot the man when he ran outside of the house holding his cheek and asking for help.
After previously claiming both she and the man were in the kitchen, Hendershot would then go onto tell investigators the deceased male was seated on his bed and she was the only person in the kitchen. Hendershot could not confirm whether her finger was on the trigger during the incident.
However, further investigation revealed the handgun that was discharged during the incident did not have the safety mechanism engaged, which could have prevented Hendershot from accidentally firing the weapon.
“A safety mechanism of the firearm reveals that when the firearm was positioned in Ms. Hendershot’s hand, it was positioned in such a manner that there is reason to believe she intended to fire the weapon upon the victim.”Excerpt from the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department criminal complaint against Rida Hendershot
The investigation also stated the bullet struck the male in the right side of his face before traveling at a downwards angle before stopping in his left upper-body region.
Investigators also obtained data from Hendershot’s cell phone which revealed she and the victim were in a dispute on a social media messenger platform the day before the fatal shooting. During that conversation, the victim made a comment to Hendershot about her moving out of their shared residence.
Berkeley County Sheriff Nathan Harmon told WDVM that from the beginning, investigators did not rule out the possibility that this incident was not an accidental shooting. He said one factor that led investigators to believe the shooting was not an accident was Hendershot’s knowledge and skill pertaining to firearms, specifically the particular handgun involved in the incident, and the trajectory or path of the bullet — alongside the “Degradation of the relationship” between Hendershot and the victim.
Hendershot is currently being held at the Eastern Regional Jail without bond.