The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


August 28, 2013

Belknap sentenced to 4 life terms for murders of couple, 2 children

Judge: 'This is the most horrific, reprehensible act I have ever seen'

SUMMERSVILLE — SUMMERSVILLE — A Nicholas County man who killed a man, his two young children and the man’s girlfriend after a drug deal gone bad, was sentenced to four life terms Wednesday with no possibility of parole.

James Roy Belknap, 27, of Leviasy, pleaded guilty earlier this month to the May 2012 murders of Steven Hendrix, his girlfriend Amber Martin and Hendrix's two children Dakota, 6, and Kaylee, 4.

Police say the victims, who were allegedly killed because of a dispute over drug debt, were shot to death, stripped naked, and their bodies dumped less than a mile from Belknap's residence.

Appearing before Nicholas County Circuit Court Judge Gary Johnson, Belknap did not address the court, but asked his attorney to apologize on his behalf.

When rendering the sentence, Johnson said, “I hope it’s a lesson to kids using drugs — this is what can happen.”

Addressing Belknap, Johnson said, “I’ve been here 20 years and this is the most horrific, reprehensible act I have ever seen.”

Family members of Steven and Amber, wearing T-shirts with photos of all four victims on them, spoke to Belknap about their loss.

During the investigation of the murders, State Police Sgt. D.A. Evans said the investigation indicated Belknap owed Hendrix money for drugs and "they had been fighting about the payment."

Before the bodies were found, the four had been missing for a number of days.

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