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Whoever happens to stop by this blog may wonder why I started it. Whenever I read news stories online I always like to put a face to the story. So I got to thinking maybe other people would as well. I always keep up on WV news and most stories don't have the mugshots with them so I hunt them up online and post them with the story. It's not that hard and I don't know why the state news sites don't do it

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Area man given life sentence

MARTINSBURG -A Martinsburg man sentenced Monday to life in prison with the possibility of parole under West Virginia's three strikes rule has been arrested more than 70 times since 1986 and has more than 30 criminal convictions, a Berkeley County prosecutor told the sentencing judge.

Monday's sentencing of 41-year-old Charles E. Redman was little more than formality, as Circuit Court Judge Christopher Wilkes was bound by state statute to sentence Redman to life in prison after he was tried and found to be a recidivist offender in September.

In accordance with West Virginia law, anyone convicted of crime punishable by a penitentiary sentence who has been found to have been convicted of two other offenses that are also punishable by a penitentiary sentence can be tried as a recidivist offender.

The state, represented by Berkeley County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Gregory Jones, told Wilkes prior to the pronouncement of the sentence that Redman had been arrested for about 78 different crimes since 1986 and already served about 10 years in prison throughout his lifetime.

"He's been convicted of approximately 35 violations of the law," Jones said before requesting that Wilkes impose the life sentence.

Redman, who is represented by local attorney Craig Manford, is expected to appeal the case. Manford previously unsuccessfully argued, based on proportionality, that the punishment under the recidivist statute was excessive in light of the three convictions the state used to try Redman as repeat offender.

"If I'm to rule as to proportionality, does that not then open the door for me to review the defendant's criminal history like I would if I was the sentencing judge in a traditional sentencing?" Wilkes said.

Wilkes stressed that the state's recidivist statute doesn't grant the trial court discretion in sentencing for a defendant tried and determined to be a recidivist. The proportionality of the sentence, he said, would be up to an appellate court to decide.

Recidivist proceedings were brought against Redman after an information was filed by the state following his most recent conviction in June for felony unlawful assault, also known as unlawful wounding.

The conviction stemmed from a July 2008 incident in which Redman was accused of stabbing another man with a pocket knife on West Race Street in Martinsburg, according to court records.

The two other qualifying convictions the state used to try Redman as a recidivist offender were convictions he received in 1987 for unlawful wounding and a 2001 conviction on a federal charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

At the close of the recidivist trial in September, a jury deliberated for a mere 20 minutes before determining that Redman was in fact previously convicted of two prior felony offenses preceding the June felony conviction.

Jurors were not asked to determine Redman's guilt or innocence. Instead, they were only tasked with deciding if he was the same Charles Redman the state alleged had been convicted of the previous two charges following his June conviction. As a result, Redman's defense was limited only to the issue of identity.

Under state statute, Redman would be eligible for parole after serving no less than 15 years in prison on the life sentence, though there is no guarantee he would be granted parole.


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