Charleston man who eluded police pleads guilty in East End homicide
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A Charleston man who eluded police for several weeks after an October homicide in the East End has pleaded guilty.
Richard B. Hilliard, 24, on Tuesday waived a grand jury indictment and pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter. He said he shot and killed David J. Booker, 26, in a vehicle at the corner of Milton and Richards streets on Oct. 11.
Hilliard gave a detailed account of that night to Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom, saying he and three other men, including Booker, were talking together near the Sojourner's Shelter.
Police have said they were familiar with Booker, Hilliard and the other men for their involvement with drugs and crime.
Hilliard said he and Andre Williams -- who also goes by the nickname "A3," had started to leave when Booker asked for a ride.
"He asked to be dropped off on our way to the West Side," Hilliard said. "I was uneasy about it."
But Booker did ride along with them, he said, and asked to go to Milton Street. Hilliard, who was driving, made a detour when the group saw a group of police cars and became nervous.
"He pulled out a weapon and put it to the passenger's head," Hilliard said. "I reacted and shot him."
Booker was found dead, with two gunshot wounds to the head, in the 1200 block of Milton Street. Police at first believed he had been struck by a car because of damage to a nearby fence.
It was the damage to that fence that led authorities to Hilliard, but the search for him didn't end until Christmas Day, when he turned himself in.
He faces a possible sentence of three to 15 years in prison on the manslaughter charge when he next comes before Bloom on April 18.
Assistant Prosecutor Fred Giggenbach told the judge that as part of Hilliard's guilty plea he has agreed to cooperate and give testimony about Williams and the other men involved that night.
Giggenbach asked Hilliard if Williams had done anything to cover up the murder.
"He disposed of the shell casings," Hilliard said, adding that each of the men was armed. "He gave me a towel with bleach to wipe the car out."
"What happened to all the guns?" Giggenbach asked him.
"In the river," Hilliard said. "One was sold."
"What happened to the third gun?" Giggenbach asked.
"I don't know," he responded.
Contact writer Cheryl Caswell at email@example.com or 304-348-4832