The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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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.  

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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.

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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.

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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: wholdren@register-herald.com

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