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Man guilty in slaying could avoid more jail time

December 18, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A 23-year-old man found guilty last month in the 2005 shooting death of Donald "Dee" Redman could avoid additional jail time on charges of attempting to intimidate and retaliate against witnesses for his trial.

John J. Grant, aka "Butter" and formerly of New York City, would be allowed to serve the jail sentence yet to be imposed for the second-degree murder conviction at the same time as four, one- to 10-year jail sentences for witness intimidation and witness retaliation, defense attorney B. Craig Manford said Monday at a pretrial hearing.

Manford told 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Gray Silver III on Monday that a one-day trial, now scheduled for Jan. 10, would be needed to decide the intimidation and retaliation charges if Grant doesn't accept the plea offer by Berkeley County Prosecutor Pamela J. Games-Neely.

The judge agreed Monday to have 50 people contacted for a second possible jury trial.

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Grant is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 4 for the murder conviction by Silver. By law, the judge must decide a prison sentence ranging from 10 to 40 years for the conviction.

Grant and a man still known only by the street name of "Prince" took part in an execution-style shooting of Redman, 29, of Martinsburg, at a Third Street duplex early on the morning of Oct. 27, 2005, police have said.

Police have said Grant wrote letters to a friend from Eastern Regional Jail that asked her to help him convince certain witnesses to change their testimony or physically injure them or not to testify at all.

Grant was indicted in October on two counts of witness intimidation and two counts of witness retaliation.

In the murder trial, Games-Neely said the letters that Grant wrote validated testimony given by witnesses for the state's case against Grant.

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