Man pleads guilty to manslaughter in West Side death
A West Side Charleston man pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the death of a man on Mary Street last November.
Donald Troy Raines, 37, told a judge that Jerry Wayne Baldwin of Sissonville threatened him and he shot him in self-defense. Prosecutors said they had planned to argue against that at trial.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A grand jury indicted Raines on a charge of voluntary manslaughter earlier this year. He pleaded not guilty in February.
Richard Holicker, Raines' court-appointed public defender, said Raines decided to plead guilty because he couldn't be assured a jury could be convinced he acted in self-defense.
Raines told Kanawha Circuit Judge Tod Kaufman, "A man came to my house and threatened my life."
He said Baldwin drove by in a car with Raines' former girlfriend and the two became involved in a heated dispute.
"I walked away and he started threatening me," Raines said.
Raines said he went into his house nearby and retrieved a handgun. He came out and fired a warning shot at Baldwin.
"He continued to run up to me and that's when I fired again," Raines said.
Assistant Prosecutor Dan Holstein said, however, that he would have presented evidence to a jury that Baldwin was unarmed and would have challenged the self-defense assertion.
Holstein said witnesses would have testified that Raines and Baldwin were both yelling and screaming at each other. Holstein said Raines fired four shots, hitting Baldwin first in the knee and then in the torso.
Baldwin was taken to a hospital for treatment, but died there.
Holstein said prosecutors agreed to a guilty plea, but told the judge some members of the victim's family are not happy about it. The state will recommend a five-year prison sentence for Raines, who could be sentenced to three to 15 years.
Holicker said he plans to put on witnesses at the Nov. 9 sentencing hearing who will testify in Raines' behalf. He said Raines has no prior criminal record.
Contact writer Cheryl Caswell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4832