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Third strike might mean life sentence for W.Va. felon

August 17, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney's office has asked a 23rd Judicial Circuit judge to sentence a 41-year-old Martinsburg man to life in prison after he was convicted of unlawful assault on June 16.

Found guilty of the felony offense by a jury, Charles E. Redman could receive a life sentence with mercy under West Virginia's three-strikes rule.

A trial was scheduled for Sept. 29 by Judge Christopher C. Wilkes on Monday to consider the state's evidence of Redman's prior convictions that make Redman eligible to be sentenced as a recidivist.

"He's got a history of (at least) 15 years of nothing but violence," Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Jean Games-Neely said of Redman's criminal history.

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Life with mercy means Redman could be considered for parole after serving 15 years, but there is no guarantee he would ever be released from prison.

Redman was scheduled to be sentenced Monday for his most recent conviction, which stemmed from an incident on July 13, 2008, according to court records. Police said Redman stabbed another man in the shoulder with a pocket knife in the 300 block of West Race Street in Martinsburg, according to court records.

The maximum penalty for the unlawful assault conviction is not less than one year or more than five years in a state correctional facility, according to a three-page information by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Gregory K. Jones.

Jones cited Redman's prior felony convictions of unlawful wounding (unlawful assault) in September 1987 and possession of a firearm by a felon in September 2001, as qualifying convictions for seeking the stronger sentence, according to court records.

In the 1987 case, Redman received a statutory penitentiary sentence of not less than one year or more than five years after having an opportunity to complete an alternative sentencing program at the Anthony Correctional Center for young offenders, according to Jones' court filing.

Redman returned "unfit" from Anthony Correctional Center and received the penitentiary sentence in January 1988, according to Jones' court filing.

In the 2001 case, Redman was convicted in U.S. District Court of the firearm possession charge and then sentenced to 96 months (or eight years) in prison, according to Jones' court filing.

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