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Prosecution progresses in Cumberland Gap murder

11:02 PM, Aug 1, 2011   |    comments
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  • Donnie Smith
  • Harvey Fuson

The streets of Cumberland Gap look much like they did on the morning of January 25th. The sign on the Old Drug Store and Antiques still invites visitors to come in, though the door remains locked.

"People are still grieving, it takes time," said Mayor John Douglas. "The healing process is still going on."

Harvey Fuson, the store's owner, was beaten to death inside his building on the afternoon of January 25th. Douglas calls Fuson one of a kind.

"Harvey was just a different type of person all the way around, he was the kind of person that everyone liked," Douglas said. "We miss seeing him ride up and down the streets here in town on his bicycle."

It's a town where violent crime can leave a lasting impression.

"You've got a small city, less than 300 people," said Claiborne County Sheriff David Ray. "Its something you don't hear about everyday, something of that magnitude, where a business owner is murdered in broad open daylight."

Prosecutors are moving forward with their case against Donnie Smith, 34, of Middlesboro Kentucky. At a status hearing Monday, Jared Effler, Assistant District Attorney General, said the state is in the process of reviewing the investigative file compiled by the TBI.

Smith is the only suspect charged in connection to Fuson's murder, but Ray said Monday the door is open for charges to be filed against additional suspects.

"The investigation is at a point where there's possibilities, only possibilities, that there could be," he said.

While that process continues, Fuson's friends work to get back to "normal".

"We're pretty resilient people here, and we'll continue on, but Harvey is a real fine person who is sorely missed," Douglas said. "He definitely wouldn't want us mourning him. He would appreciate the fact that we are going on."

Donnie Smith is scheduled to be back in court on September 12th.

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