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Custody Battle, Likely Motive to Hampshire County Murder

An ongoing child custody battle, that's what police believe was the motive of last week's murder of Michael O'Hara in Hampshire County.

HAMPSHIRE COUNTY, W.Va. - We're learning new details on a murder investigation in Hampshire County. Just last week police found a body in the Cacapon River and arrested three people connected to the crime, including the victim's estranged wife. Now officers are explaining how this brutal crime might have happened.

Police say they believe an ongoing custody battle was the motive of last week's murder of Michael O'Hara in Hampshire County. Sheriff's Deputies say Mandy O'Hara who allegedly killed her husband had been battling over the custody of two of their five children.

"To my knowledge custody had not been set by any court to my knowledge it was an ongoing matter that was going through the court system," said Chief Deputy NJ Sions, of the Hampshire County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies say Michael O'Hara was stabbed to death last Thursday at his home in Slanesville and his body was recovered from the Cacapon River few miles away from the home. Mandy O'Hara and John Shoemaker were charged with first-degree murder and Gabriella Clutter was charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

"We do know Mandy had been living at that house for at least since March of 2013, so she had moved out several months ago," said Sions.  

Sions believes Mandy O'Hara had been planning the murder for a while, as for the O'Hara family, they say the kids are going through a lot.  "Considering all the circumstances, they are doing the best that they can that they have great family support but at the same time, we ask the  families and children to be respected," said Sions.

Officials say all three suspects are being held at Potomac Highlands Regional Jail. O'Hara and Shoemaker are being held without a bond and Clutter's bond is set at $10,000.

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