New Matamoras man facing murder charges

Lionel Gore

A New Matamoras man will face charges of killing his adopted mother Friday night, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office reported Saturday morning.

Lionel Justin Gore, 34, of 130 Cemetery Drive will be charged with the murder of Diane Gore, the office said.

The Sheriff’s Office reported Saturday morning it received a 911 call around 6:20 p.m. for a structure fire at 130 Cemetery Drive in New Matamoras. The Grandview Township Fire Department, detectives, state fire marshal and deputies responded to the scene, which was known to be Diane Gore’s residence, according to the affidavit of facts from the Sheriff’s Office.

Detectives met with Diane’s sister, Stephanie Williams, who advised when she arrived at the home, Lionel came running out of the residence, covered in blood and stated “get out of the way or I’ll kill you next” before fleeing the scene in a vehicle, the affidavit said.

Williams said she attempted to go into the home to locate Diane, but could not because of the fire, the affidavit said.

The affidavit of facts notes detectives also spoke with Lionel’s 6-year-old nephew, who advised he witnessed Lionel on top of Diane, sawing her neck with a knife. The boy stated Lionel started with a smaller knife, then retrieved a larger one, the affidavit said.

The juvenile advised Lionel set the house on fire and he had to crawl out because of the smoke, the affidavit said.

The sheriff’s office reported Grandview firefighters located a body in what they believe is the master bedroom of the home. While the fire department put out the fire and deputies conducted interviews, Lionel got into a vehicle pursuit with the Wetzel County Sheriff’s Office, the sheriff’s office said.

Lionel reportedly struck two deputy vehicles before being taken into custody and transported to a Wetzel County Hospital, the affidavit.

Detective Sgt. Scott Smeeks said he and Detective Lt. Bryan Lockhart went to the hospital to speak with Lionel. He was read his Miranda Warning and was told they wanted to talk to him about his mother. Lionel then said he was adopted and she wasn’t his mother, Smeeks said in the affidavit.

Lionel reportedly didn’t answer many initial questions, then asked to go to the bathroom. Once he returned, he sat on the hospital bed and told Lockhart “I cut her head off and set her on fire,” the affidavit said.

The sheriff’s report notes Lionel said he killed Diane because the Holy Spirit told him to as she was the devil.

He was then taken to the Wetzel County Jail on charges resulting from the vehicle pursuit.

The state fire marshal’s office was able to recover the body and found the victim’s head severed from her body and laying beside her torso, which is consistent with what the juvenile witnessed and to what Lionel admitted.

The report stated it was not known at first the victim’s head had been severed.

The sheriff’s office requested a warrant be issued for Lionel Gore for the charge of murder.

Washington County Prosecutor Nicole Coil said Saturday morning that she hadn’t seen the reports yet and will make a determination on further charges based on the affidavit of facts.

“He’s likely looking at murder, arson and child endangering charges,” she said, adding that more charges were coming.

Chief Deputy Mark Warden said there is a preliminary report that Lionel had broken into a house and kidnapped a girl while in Wetzel County.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.


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