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W.Va. Supreme Court of Appeals upholds sentencing of man for kidnapping and fatal stabbing

February 24, 2012

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has upheld the sentencing of man who pleaded guilty to the June 2009 kidnapping and fatal stabbing of his ex-girlfriend, according to opinion filed Friday.

Donald B. Surber Jr. was sentenced in August 2010 to serve two life sentences without the opportunity for parole in connection with Katherine Nicole Sharp’s death.

He was also ordered to serve a three- to 15-year term for attempted kidnapping, one to 15 years for burglary, one to 10 years for destruction of property, six months for domestic assault and five years for attempted escape.

Surber killed Sharp on the evening of June 14, 2009, at her home at 10 Raider Lane in the Ridgefield subdivision off W.Va. 9 west of Martinsburg during a standoff with police.

Sharp's daughter managed to escape through a bedroom window.

The standoff with police lasted more than 24 hours and ended the afternoon of June 15.

The unsigned opinion affirmed 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Christopher C. Wilkes’ sentencing and found that the lower court did not commit a reversible error, according to the opinion.

The high court heard arguments by Surber’s attorney, Nicholas F. Colvin, that he defendant’s guilty pleas were not entered “intelligently, knowingly and voluntarily,” when he decided to give up his right to a trial. 

Surber also had argued that he did not knowingly and voluntarily waive his right to counsel, that his sentence was excessive and that he received ineffective assistance from certain attorneys before he entered the guilty pleas, according to the opinion.

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— Matthew Umstead

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