Sentence issued in shooting case


ELKINS — An area man accused of shooting his wife in May 2016 at their Whitmer residence was sentenced in Randolph County Circuit Court.

Donald Lee Nelson, 43, of Dry Fork, was sentenced to two to 10 years in the state penitentiary on one felony count of malicious assault and three years in the state penitentiary on one felony count of wanton endangerment involving a firearm. The sentences were ordered to run consecutively to one another.

During the sentencing hearing, Randolph County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Richard Shryock requested for Nelson to receive the maximum sentence — five years in the state penitentiary — on the wanton endangerment charge.

At a hearing in early April, Nelson pleaded guilty to one felony count of malicious assault and one felony count of wanton endangerment involving a firearm, as part of a plea agreement. The prosecution dismissed two felony counts of attempted first-degree murder.

Shryock represented the state, while Nelson appeared with Jeremy Cooper as defense counsel. Circuit Judge David Wilmoth presided.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Randolph County Magistrate Court, at approximately 9:50 a.m. May 13, 2016, Cpl. J.R. Wince, of the West Virginia State Police, received a call regarding a domestic dispute that resulted in the victim, Roxanne Lewis, being shot in the neck. Upon arrival at the home, Wince observed blood on the front steps of the residence. He and Cpl. K.A. Corley, also of the West Virginia State Police, entered the residence through the front door, which was already open. Once inside, Wince observed a “substantial puddle of blood” on the floor in the living room with drops of blood leading from the puddle to the door, the complaint states. Additionally, Wince observed a fired bullet and a fired bullet casing, both of which were .45-caliber.

After clearing the home, Wince traveled to the neighboring residence, which belongs to the parents of Lewis, police said. At that residence, officers found Lewis in the bedroom, non-verbal and “bleeding profusely.”

Wince further observed what he described in the complaint as a gunshot wound that “entered the left side of her face and exited through the right side of her neck.”

Lewis’ family told police she had been shot by Nelson, the complaint states.

During the course of the investigation, Wince learned Nelson had traveled to Harman School and taken his children out of the school and to his mother’s house, according to the complaint.

His mother reportedly told police she had not seen Nelson in approximately a year but that he left his children with her and told her she was “going to have to raise the children,” before leaving in an unknown direction.

Nelson was later detained at approximately 1 p.m. the same day at Ruby Memorial Hospital, where Lewis had been transported for treatment. Inside Nelson’s vehicle, officers discovered a .45-caliber pistol, police said.

After being read his Miranda Rights, Nelson admitted to getting into an altercation with Lewis. He said while he was attempting to leave the residence, she “grabbed the duffel bag out of his hand,” according to court documents.

According to the complaint, Nelson said the next thing he knew, Lewis was “bleeding from the mouth.” He added that, at that time, he realized he had a gun in his pocket.

Lewis’ injuries were not life-threatening and she was expected to make a complete recovery, police said.