Bluefield Man Pleads to Voluntary Manslaughter – Not a Bad Deal

From the Bluefield Daily Telegraph:

A Bluefield man facing first-degree murder in the 2007 shooting death of a another Bluefield resident entered into a plea agreement Tuesday in Mercer County Circuit Court.

Ronald Jerome Finney, Sr., also known as R.J., 53, pleaded guilty before Judge Derek Swope to a felony charge of voluntary manslaughter. Finney was indicted in February on first-degree murder in the Oct. 31, 2007 shooting of Donald Lamont Greene, 32, of Bluefield. Greene died as the result of a gunshot wound to the chest.

Finney was apparently claiming that he fired in self defense, stating that he was in fear for his life. However, the situation stemmed from him attempting to purchase crack-cocaine – not exactly a “clean hands” position to be in. Furthermore, his story was pretty shaky. Finney said in his statement that he waited outside [the drug dealer’s house], and that Greene later came up to him, threatened him, and “he acted like he had something in his pocket, so I just shot him,” adding that he fired a second time when Greene “then tried to get something out.”

Finney must have been pretty believable though, because prosecutors gave him a pretty good deal – voluntary manslaughter – only carrying a determinate sentence of 3 to 10 years (compared with life for first degree murder, or up to 40 years for second degree murder). This was well-worth accepting in lieu of taking a chance with the jury and possibly facing life in prison.

You can read the full article here.

– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Attorney.

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