By Wendy Holdren
Raymond Page Stoumile was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison for wanton endangerment and felony possession of a firearm stemming from a 2009 shooting incident near the Hager Street apartments.
Stoumile, 27, of Beckley, had initially pleaded not guilty and his case was set for trial last month, but he instead entered guilty pleas to both charges.
He was convicted in 2007 of unlawful wounding and malicious wounding, which disqualified him under state and federal law from possessing a firearm, according to Raleigh County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Tom Truman.
Truman said Stoumile was seen on a security video entering the rear hatch of an SUV driven by a woman (Stoumile’s fiancée, according to the defense). As Stoumile entered the vehicle, he removed his coat and an assault-type rifle was visible.
As the SUV turned left from the Hager Street apartments, Truman said Stoumile fired one to three shots. Truman said the security video showed a man running to avoid gunfire, but not the actual shooting. A road patrol officer stopped the SUV a few minutes later, finding Stoumile in the back with an AK-47 with three spent shell casings.
Defense attorney Steve Mancini described the events a bit differently before Raleigh County Circuit Court Judge Robert Burnside on Friday.
Mancini said Stoumile’s vehicle was fired upon first; therefore, Stoumile was acting in self-defense when he returned fire.
“We don’t expect probation,” Mancini said. “Given the facts of this case ... we’re asking the court to consider something less than the max and for the charges to be concurrent.”
Truman, however, said there was no evidence that Stoumile was shot at during the incident. He said the other party directed a laser beam toward Stoumile, but never fired a shot.
Truman said Stoumile was in the back seat of the vehicle, which had heavily tinted windows, but the back window was rolled down.
“It wasn’t self-defense. He was hunting,” Truman said.
The investigating officer, Beckley Police Detective M.G. Bragg, then showed Stoumile’s weapon, an AK-47, to the court.
“The idea of self-defense with that kind of weapon is just stupid,” Truman said.
Truman said the shots Stoumile fired were in a densely populated area. After reviewing the evidence, Truman suggested Stoumile be sentenced to 13 years of the 15-year maximum sentence.
Mancini responded that having the back window rolled down “doesn’t make a difference.”
Judge Burnside said, “It seems as if he didn’t want to engage in gunfire, the window would have been rolled up.”
Stoumile then addressed the court and said he takes full responsibility for his actions.
“It hurt me and it hurt my family,” Stoumile said.
He said he didn’t “go over there for any problems,” but Burnside said any dispute of the facts was resolved by Stoumile’s guilty plea.
Burnside said self-defense would have been decided by a jury and any evidence of self-defense would have been tested at trial.
“I’ll take no consideration of self-defense at sentencing. You have affirmed legal guilt and actual guilt by your plea.”
Burnside sentenced him to five years for each count, as well as an additional five years for “additional enhancement,” which resulted in the maximum 15-year sentence.
He ruled that the sentences should run consecutively, because being in possession of the AK-47 was one crime and actually firing it was a separate decision.
“He had complete disregard for the safety of the community.”
Stoumile has been arrested and charged with multiple crimes since 2006.
Charges include possession of cocaine with intent to deliver, driving on a revoked license due to third DUI arrest, fleeing police on foot, malicious wounding from a September 2006 shooting incident, possession of crack cocaine, possession of marijuana and, most recently, attempted first-degree murder in January 2011.
Stoumile pleaded not guilty to attempted first-degree murder in May 2012 and his trial has been continued to the next term in January 2014.
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