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N.Y. man gets 40 years in shooting death of W.Va. man

February 05, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A New York City man found guilty in the 2005 shooting death of Donald "Dee" Redman was sentenced Monday to 40 years in prison by 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Gray Silver III, who applied the maximum penalty allowed by state law.

John J. Grant, aka "Butter," received the maximum penalty allowed by state law for a second-degree murder conviction, Berkeley County Prosecutor Pamela J. Games-Neely said after the hearing.

Grant, 23, along with a man authorities only know by the street name of "Prince," took part in an execution-style shooting of Redman, 29, of Martinsburg at a Third Street duplex in the early morning of Oct. 27, 2005, police have said. The shooting happened at what police considered was a crack house, and both the victim and Grant were involved in the drug trade, authorities have said.

While incarcerated at Eastern Regional Jail on a charge of first-degree murder, Grant wrote letters to a friend asking her to help him convince certain witnesses to change their testimony or physically injure them or not testify at all, police have said.

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Grant's friend did not follow through and the witnesses only learned of the letters through the state's investigation of the writings, which were discovered by accident, officials have said.

Grant avoided additional jail time last month by entering no-contest pleas to two misdemeanor counts of intimidation of witnesses and one felony count of retaliation against witnesses who testified at his murder trial.

The one-year sentences for the misdemeanor counts and the one- to 10-year sentence for the felony count will be served concurrently with the murder conviction as part of the plea agreement that Silver accepted Monday

Grant was ordered to pay restitution for Redman's funeral expenses.

"The court can reach no other conclusion," Silver said of his decision to impose the maximum prison term. "If the facts of this case don't call for it, then I don't know what facts would."

Though giving up additional jail time because of the plea entered last month and accepted Thursday by Silver, Games-Neely said she was satisfied because the deal included a felony conviction. Now convicted of two felonies, a third conviction could land Grant in jail for life, Games-Neely said.

Games-Neely had hoped the jury seated in November 2007 would find Grant guilty of first-degree murder, but acknowledged it was a "tough case."

"We're happy with it," Games-Neely said of Monday's final outcome. "You just can't come to this town and start shooting up people."

Silver concluded Grant had shown no hint of remorse for Redman's death, and never accepted responsibility until Monday's hearing, when he apologized to the victim's family.

"I am guilty of something, I'm not going to deny that," Grant said Monday while Redman's 14-year-old daughter and her mother were seated in the courtroom gallery.

The girl had prepared a statement, but was too overcome with grief to read it, so Games-Neely read it for her.

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