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McCleaf sentenced for role in woman's death

June 19, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - A Martinsburg, W.Va., man who was convicted April 26 in the shooting death of his girlfriend was sentenced to 35 years in prison Tuesday, court officials said.

Michael Lee McCleaf, 39, will be eligible for parole in 10 years, said Morgan County Circuit Clerk Betty Moss-Miller.

McCleaf could be released from prison in 171/2 years if he shows good behavior in prison, said Moss-Miller.

A jury convicted McCleaf of second-degree murder in the June 28, 2001, shooting death of Lisa Marie Mason, 37.

The shooting occurred in the kitchen of a house on Highland Ridge Road in Berkeley Springs where McCleaf had been staying.

McCleaf told police the shooting was an accident, Morgan County Sheriff's Department Cpl. Anthony Lynch said at the time of the incident.

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McCleaf told police Mason was angry at him when she grabbed a .22-caliber revolver that was registered to the girlfriend of another occupant of the house.

McCleaf said he grabbed the gun at the same time and, during a struggle, the gun went off and Mason was struck below her left eye.

Mason was taken to Washington County Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

There was lengthy testimony from Mason's relatives and McCleaf's relatives before McCleaf was sentenced, Moss-Miller said.

Both Mason's mother and McCleaf's mother testified, according to Moss-Miller.

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