West Virginia man accused of 2014 murder on I-81 held over for trial in Franklin County
FRANKLIN COUNTY — A West Virginia man accused of committing a murder on Interstate 81 in Franklin County in 2014 will go to trial, according to court documents.
John Wayne Strawser Jr. was extradited to Pennsylvania in October and had a preliminary hearing Thursday, where his charges were bound over for trial.
Strawser is accused of killing Timothy Davison in the early morning hours of Jan. 4, 2014 while driving north on Interstate 81 near Greencastle, just north of the Pennsylvania-Maryland border, according to police. Before his fatal shooting, Davison called 911 to report he was being chased by another driver, who was shooting at him.
Davison’s car, a 2001 Mitsubishi Montero, was rammed into a median. His killer then fired several rounds into the vehicle before fleeing south on I-81.
Investigators found several pieces of evidence at the crime scene, including a spent .44 shell casing and a Ford Ranger XLT emblem. They also consulted PennDOT surveillance video of the area.
But it was a tip they received on April 20, 2015, that helped lead investigators to Strawser, police say.
Pennsylvania State Police were contacted by Jamie Breese, who told them about Strawser. He explained that he and his wife knew Strawser and he thought that Strawser had mistaken the victim’s Montero with their silver Honda Pilot.
When he had heard that Strawser was recently charged with the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Amy Lou Buckingham, in Preston County, West Virginia, Breese believed his information may help police.
Strawser was convicted of Buckingham’s murder and sentenced to life in prison last year.
Breese also told police that Strawser’s truck was a dark Ford Ranger, and that though it was currently black and green in color, it had been painted sometime after the murder occurred.
Additionally, he indicated it had previously had left front damage.
Mr. and Mrs. Breese described a volatile history with Strawser, and how he had repeatedly contacted them on the night of Mr. Davison’s murder. The couple believed Strawser was hunting them that night.
Courtney Breese told police Strawser had been a family friend for years and admitted to having a relationship with him during her marriage. She said Strawser had been possessive, had fits of rage, and acted violently. Courtney told police that even though Strawser live more than two hours away, he would randomly show up at places, and stalk her through anonymous text messages.
Strawser could not locate them the night of the murder, and as they received more messages and threats from Strawser, they departed the club they were at, ‘Cloud Nine,’ without having any contact with Strawser and traveled north on I-81, in the same direction Timothy Davison would have been going.
The tips led police to an investigation of Strawser, where they discovered:
- Strawser owned 1997 Ford Ranger with dark lapis paint.
- Cell tower information regarding his mobile phone shows that Strawser was on a call between the area of Martinsburg, WV and Hagerstown, MD. Records also show that the call was terminated while his phone was in Hagerstown, and just three minutes before the first 911 call was received from Timothy Davison. The cell tower records likewise confirm he made repeated harassing calls to Courtney Breese that evening.
- Strawser’s truck, when seized, had some original dark blue color, though it had been painted. It was also outfitted with what appeared to be new parts.
- A friend of Strawser’s led police to a field Strawser frequented, where they found a Rossi Ranch Hand gun hidden in a box.
- Seized within Strawser’s residence were live .44 rounds and spent casings.
- Lab testing revealed that the casing found at the murder scene was fired from the Rossi Ranch Hand found in the field.
- A DNA profile was obtained from Strawser, which matched the profile previously created from the casing found at the murder scene.
- Strawser’s Facebook page showed pictures of the Rossi Ranch Hand, as well as pictures of his Ford Ranger with blue paint as well as the newer black/green paint.
- Particles characteristic of gunshot residue were found in the driver’s side area of Strawser’s Ranger.
- Though Strawser told investigators has had been working on January 4, 2014, his employer told
investigators that he had not worked on that date.