The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

September 27, 2013

Young sentenced to 15 years for voluntary manslaughter

BECKLEY — A Fairdale man was sentenced Friday to 15 years in the penitentiary for the voluntary manslaughter of 66-year-old Frank Acord.

Charles William Young, 41, entered a Kennedy plea in July and Judge John A. Hutchison sentenced him to the maximum of the potential three- to 15-year sentence.

Young was taken into custody in September 2012 after a lengthy investigation conducted by the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department Detective Bureau.

Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney Kristen Keller said Acord’s body was found at an abandoned mine site March 3, 2012, and the medical examiner determined he had been shot three times in the head.

Acord also had “above therapeutic levels of oxycodone” in his system. Keller said this was yet another narcotics-related homicide.

Young was identified as a suspect and police found video footage of the two together at Rick’s Supermarket on the last day Acord was seen alive. When Acord’s body was found, he was wearing the same clothing he was seen wearing in the video.

Police also discovered bullet holes in an old vehicle on Young’s property that matched bullets found with Acord’s body.

Young maintained his innocence throughout the proceedings, but he decided a Kennedy plea was in his best interest instead of going to trial, in which a jury could have found him guilty of first degree murder and given him a life sentence.

Young’s attorney, John Mize, asked the court give Young a lesser sentence, but the state received its requested for the maximum.  


A bond hearing was canceled for Gaston Smith III, who is accused of the first degree murder of Darien Miguel Blaney.

Keller said the defense attorney canceled the hearing and Smith, 19, will remain in jail without bond.

Smith allegedly shot Blaney, 20, on July 30 at the corner of Canaday Street and Mulberry Street.

During a preliminary hearing Aug. 9, testimony indicated the dispute between the men may have started over an 18-year-old girl who was pregnant by Smith.

A new date for a bond hearing has not yet been scheduled.


Chastity Dawn Hensley, 21, of Princewick, pleaded guilty Friday before Judge Hutchison to delivery of oxycodone.

Keller said Hensley was an employee at a pharmacy and she stole pills to give to her cousin.

Hutchison sentenced her to one to 15 years in the penitentiary, but suspended that sentence while she serves two years of probation.

Hensley’s employer wrote a letter of recommendation for a lesser sentence and Hensley had no prior criminal activity.

Hutchison said he would have zero tolerance for violations of her probation. Keller also noted that Hensley is pregnant.


Two of three individuals involved in a scrap metal theft scheme were sentenced Friday by Judge Hutchison.

David Eric Williams, 30, of Surveyor, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit a felony, transferring stolen property.

He was sentenced to one to five years in the penitentiary, but that sentence was suspended while he serves two years’ probation.

Keller said he was ordered to make an immediate payment towards the restitution, which is over $30,400.

Williams is also required to pay $1,500 in attorney’s fees. He was also on probation for another case for one year, so he will be now on probation for a total of three years.

John Tessaro, 35, of Glen Daniel, pleaded guilty to transferring stolen property, on felony and misdemeanor levels.

Hutchison sentenced Tessaro to one to 10 years for the felony charge and one year for the misdemeanor. Both of those sentences are being suspended while he serves three years’ probation. The first six months of his probation will be served on home confinement with a GPS tracking device.

Tessaro was also ordered to pay restitution to the victim, as well as $1,500 in attorneys’ fees.

The third individual, Marty Browning Jr., involved in the scheme was set to be sentenced Friday also, but the court expressed some concern about a statement made from a trooper.

Keller said the statement suggested that Browning “may have been an innocent bystander.”

She agreed to review the report and the next court proceeding is set for Nov. 1.

— E-mail:

Text Only
Latest News
  • twv twins One Hatfield, two actors

    If you shake hands with the cast and crew at Theatre West Virginia after the show, don’t worry if you think you’re seeing double.
    Jacob and James Cline, 12-year-old twins, are a part of the team this year, assisting  with props and portraying Little Troy Hatfield.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Construction begins on Meadow River Rail Trail

    Construction has finally begun on the Meadow River Rail Trail, a recreation project undertaken in a unique partnership between Greenbrier and Fayette counties.

    July 25, 2014

  • AARP reps talk future of Social Security

    The future of Social Security was on the menu at a listening session staged Thursday by AARP West Virginia at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

    July 25, 2014

  • Juvenile petitions sought against teens in Mount Hope B&Es

    The Fayette County Sheriff’s Department is filing juvenile petitions against two Page-area teens after two businesses in the Mount Hope area were broken into early Thursday.

    July 25, 2014

  • US issues 186 mining citations in June

    The Mine Safety and Health Administration says inspectors issued 186 citations at 13 U.S. mining operations in June.

    July 24, 2014

  • Lawsuit filed after Dirty Girl Run canceled

    A lawsuit has been filed against the producers of a run that was canceled in Charleston in which participants were told they wouldn't be issued refunds.

    July 24, 2014

  • Juveniles caught after breaking and entering in Fayette

    The Fayette County Sheriff’s Department is filing juvenile petitions against two teens from the Page area after two businesses in the Mount Hope area were broken into.

    July 24, 2014

  • Saints arrive 1 Saints march into ‘Almost Heaven, W.Va.’

    At 3:54 p.m. Wednesday afternoon the New Orleans Saints’ chartered flight touched the ground at the Greenbrier Valley Airport, and Greenbrier County officially became “Who Dat?” Country. INCLUDES TOUT VIDEO.

    July 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • Broadband panel eyes access to rural areas

    The West Virginia Broadband Deployment Council met far outside its typical Charleston venue Wednesday to hear issues about Internet speeds in some of the state’s most rural regions.

    July 24, 2014

  • Lewisburg official says fuel spill contained, drinking water safe

    Lewisburg’s public works director is confident that a Tuesday afternoon fuel spill 60 miles upriver from the city water system’s intake has been contained and the water is safe to drink.

    July 24, 2014