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Grimes sentenced to 40 years for second-degree murder

January 30, 2007|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - Edward C. Grimes was sentenced Monday to 40 years in prison for the July 2005 shooting death of Shepherdstown resident Ronald K. Kidrick in a murder case that Berkeley County Judge David H. Sanders said was "difficult and contentious ... from the get-go."

Grimes, 25, apologized to several members of Kidrick's family and friends who attended his sentencing hearing, while maintaining that his shooting of Kidrick in a motel parking lot at 1022 Winchester Ave. in Martinsburg was in self-defense.

"It's kind of hard for me to show remorse for someone that almost took my life," said Grimes, who was convicted of second-degree murder in November 2006 after a three-day trial.

After denying defense motions to set aside the jury's guilty verdict last year and to hold a new trial, Sanders prefaced his sentencing decision by noting that he was made aware that Grimes had a "rough and tumble" existence growing up in Baltimore and didn't get a lot of breaks in his childhood.

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But the 23rd Judicial Circuit judge didn't give Grimes a break, instead satisfying the pleas of three Kidrick family members who urged Sanders to give Grimes the maximum sentence allowed by state statute.

Sanders also ordered Grimes to pay more than $17,200 in restitution.

Behind closed doors, Sanders heard from Kidrick's son, Trejan, and his older brother, Christopher, and later indicated their statements would not be part of the public record.

"All we know is we're missing someone very dear to us and we'll never get him back," Amy Kidrick, the victim's sister-in-law told the judge.

Kidrick's father, Ronald W. Kidrick, said he didn't believe his son pulled a weapon on Grimes, who he feared would enact more heartbreak on other people if allowed an abbreviated prison stay.

"I don't want to see another person go through what I had to go through," said Kidrick's father, whose wife died in October 2004.

After the sentencing hearing, Grimes' attorney, Homer Speaker, said his client would be eligible for parole after serving 10 years of the sentence, four more than a previously offered plea agreement rejected in May 2006 by Kidrick's family and Judge Sanders.

"There's definitely going to be an appeal," said Speaker, who argued that prosecutors presented no evidence to disprove his client's self-defense claims or demonstrate that Grimes had a "malignant heart" when he shot Kidrick in the early morning of July 30, 2005.

Speaker cited several past court decisions in his post-trial motion arguments and also noted that the victim was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine when he arrived at the motel with a loaded firearm.

Speaker also noted the testimony of Kidrick's son, Trejan, who testified that his father pulled his weapon first in the Relax Inn parking lot.

After the hearing, Ronald W. Kidrick said the confrontation should have been settled man to man, without weapons being involved.

"I do feel some sort of vindication," Kidrick said. "It's still an awful, awful thing for me to handle."

"I'm just glad this thing is over and I can get some closure."

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