MARTINSBURG, W. Va. — A Berkeley County jury deliberated an hour and a half Thursday before finding a Martinsburg man guilty of first degree murder in the 2022 death of his wife.

Samuel Lee Lineberg, 57, had confessed to police that he killed his wife with a baseball bat in November 2022 soon after learning she intended to leave him. His defense attorney argued unsuccessfully to get the charge diminished to 2nd degree.

The jury then heard evidence and argument to determine whether to attach mercy to the Defendant’s life sentence.

“After a short deliberation, the jury returned a verdict that no mercy shall be attached to the Defendant’s life sentence,” according to a press release from the office of Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Catie Wilkes Delligatti, who added that almost half of female homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner. “If you or a loved one are experiencing intimate partner violence, help is available at the Eastern Panhandle Empowerment Center – 304-263-8522,” the press release adds.

Sentencing is scheduled before 23rd Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Laura V. Faircloth June 18th.

A Berkeley County Courtroom (Photo: Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office)

The murder was investigated by the Cpl. T.W. Cook of the Martinsburg Detachment of the West Virginia State Police, with assistance provided by the Virginia State Police, who initially apprehended Lineberg.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys Hassan Rasheed and Raymond Boyce prosecuted the case on behalf of the State.

Delligatti expressed her appreciation to Cpl. Cook for his investigation, along with Victim/Witness Coordinator Summer Nails for her exemplary work throughout the duration of the case.