Correa sentenced in federal court

ELKINS – A Buckhannon man, who is facing charges in connection with an alleged murder-for-hire plot in Upshur County, was sentenced on felony charges in federal court Tuesday.

Rodolpho “Chino” Villagomez Correa, 33, was sentenced to 46 months in a federal penitentiary followed by three years of supervised probation in federal court on Tuesday. The sentence is to run consecutive to whatever potential sentencing Correa would face in Upshur County Circuit Court.

Correa pleaded guilty in July to a felony charge of possession of a firearm by an alien illegally in the United States. The charge stems from federal authorities seizing 16 firearms from Villagomez’s home and business in July 2012.

The plea agreement indicated that the firearms were not possessed for sporting purposes or collecting. Villagomez agreed to forfeit those guns, along with other items seized in the two searches.

U.S. District Judge John Bailey dismissed the five remaining charges.

Correa’s defense attorney, Harry Smith, objected to one of the weapons in question, an AR-10, being classified as a semi-automatic weapon. Assistant U. S. Prosecutor Steve Warner called two separate witnesses to the stand to address the court regarding the nature of the weapon.

The first was State Trooper Roy Moss, who said that, despite being aware of the weapon, he could not determine whether or not it was semi-automatic since he had not fired it.

The second witness was Homeland Security special agent Steve Austin, who also could not confirm whether or not the weapon was semi-automatic.

Bailey eventually, after hearing from both witnesses, overruled the objection based on a photograph of the weapon in


After the sentencing, Smith raised the question of what will become of his client since he is awaiting trial in Upshur County, and asked the court if his client would qualify for time served. Bailey said that Correa is to remain in custody until the trial in Upshur County, and that the U.S. Bureau of Prisons will determine whether he is given credit for time served.

Villagomez has been charged with being an accessory before/after the fact to first-degree murder. Villagomez is alleged to have paid $5,000 to Jessie Heater to kill 29-year-old Joshua Oberg in January 2012 after Villagomez learned that Oberg was allegedly romantically involved with his wife.

Robert Eugene Siron III, 31, who was arrested with Heater after a confidential informant led local authorities to Oberg’s body, pleaded guilty to one felony count of voluntary manslaughter and one felony count of conspiracy to conceal a deceased human body in the death of 29-year-old Joshua Oberg earlier this month.

The trial in Upshur County is scheduled for Feb. 18.

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