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Brother pleads guilty in death

Charles Leatherman faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in the shooting death of his brother in their Halfway home.

Charles Leatherman faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in the shooting death of his brother in their Halfway home.

November 08, 2002|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

Six months after a Halfway man was shot to death in his home, his brother pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of second-degree murder.

Charles Leatherman, 33, entered the plea in Washington County Circuit Court.

Leatherman - who was accused of shooting his brother, Ian, 22, several times during an argument in May - faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, Circuit Judge Donald E. Beachley said.

Beachley requested a pre-sentence investigation and ordered that Leatherman remain in jail without bond.

Leatherman was facing one count of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder. The first-degree murder charge was dropped in exchange for the plea.

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Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Steve Kessell said in court that Charles Leatherman admitted to shooting his brother at least four or five times.

A three-day trial had been scheduled for Dec. 16 to 18. Charles Leatherman had a motion pending for a suppression hearing, but he withdrew the motion Thursday to enter his plea.

Beachley said the pre-sentence report may be ready by the date for which the trial had been scheduled.

Leatherman answered "yes, sir" and "no, sir" as Beachley asked him a series of questions about his rights and whether he understood them. He was flanked by defense attorneys Michael Morrissette and Mary Riley.

Leatherman told Beachley that he is taking medication and receiving treatment for depression.

The Washington County Sheriff's Department was called to the Leatherman household at 11226 Marbern Road on May 15 after a report of a shooting.

Charles Leatherman apparently called 911 to say he was the shooter, Kessell said in court as he summarized what state witness testimony would have been had the case gone to trial.

Ian Leatherman was found lying face down on his bed with a yellow blanket covering him. He had four gunshot wounds in his back and five in his front and side, Kessell said.

A Remington .270-caliber rifle was found nearby, along with live rounds and spent shell casings, Kessell said.

The fatal shooting apparently followed an argument about food, drugs and money. Both brothers were addicted to illegal drugs, according to charging documents.

Blaming his brother for spending their remaining money, Ian Leatherman pointed a rifle at Charles Leatherman and threatened to kill him, charging documents say.

Charles Leatherman wrestled the rifle from his brother and put it aside, but retrieved it when the argument continued.

According to charging documents, Charles Leatherman shot Ian Leatherman once as he stood in a doorway, then several more times as Ian Leatherman ran to his own bedroom.

Charles Leatherman told police that he shot his brother because he "couldn't take it anymore," charging documents say.

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