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Trial to begin for man facing possible life sentence

September 28, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The trial for a man who could receive a life sentence with mercy under West Virginia's three-strikes rule is expected to begin Tuesday after 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Christopher C. Wilkes denied defense motions in the case on Monday.

Charles E. Redman, 41, who was found guilty of the felony offense of unlawful assault by a jury on June 1, could receive a life sentence as a recidivist.

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.

Berkeley County Clerk Virginia M. Sine's office was directed to summon 40 people for jury duty on Monday for the trial.

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In filing the motion for an enhanced penalty for Redman, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Gregory K. Jones has cited the defendant'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.

Redman was convicted of stabbing another man in the shoulder with a pocket knife in the 300 block of West Race Street in Martinsburg on July 13, 2008, 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.

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.

In the Monday hearing, defense attorney B. Craig Manford acknowledged the limits of his arguments in trial and gave no indication he would call any witnesses to testify in his client's defense. Wilkes denied a motion by Manford to dismiss the case.

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