CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A judge has postponed sentencing a Sissonville man who shot another to death a year ago until he undergoes a psychological evaluation.
Dale Thomas Newhouse, 55, faces three to 15 years in the penitentiary after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter. Killed was James Bryan Shaffer, 41, also of Sissonville.
Newhouse's attorney, Bill Forbes, and his sister said that when the shooting occurred the defendant had recently returned from a rehabilitation facility. He had suffered a coma and brain injury after being assaulted by the half-brother of the shooting victim, they told the judge.
That was the kind of information Forbes said he would have presented to a jury if Newhouse had gone to trial. Instead, he avoided being convicted of murder and pleaded guilty to the lesser charge in July.
At Tuesday's hearing, Forbes called two witnesses on Newhouse's behalf.
Thelma Edens, Newhouse's sister, said, "When he came home he was very frail. But he was not violent. He is an alcoholic, but he would do anything for anybody. He was too good."
Larry Reed, Newhouse's neighbor, told the judge that he heard shots that night. He said Newhouse showed up on his porch, confessed the shooting and laid the gun down. They waited there for police, he said.
"He said, 'I've shot Jamie,'" Reed testified. "And he said, 'I kept telling him I was not going to let him hurt me.'"
Forbes told the judge that Newhouse knew the victim and had allowed him to stay at his house for a while.