Man sentenced for beating death on probation | New

HUNTINGTON – A man convicted of murder in a fatal beating at a bar in 2016 is on probation following a hearing that questioned West Virginia’s sentences for causing death.

Hayden Damien Drakes, of Huntington, entered a Kennedy plea on Tuesday – which allows him to take punishment for a crime without admitting guilt – to a malicious injury in the death of Brett Powell in 2016 at a bar along the 7th Avenue in Huntington.

The sentencing provides for a prison term of two to 10 years, a sentence for which he was credited for time already served in incarceration and house arrest. As part of the deal reached between the parties, the remainder of the prison sentence will be suspended and Drakes was ordered to serve a two-year probation period instead.

Drakes hit Powell several times around 12:30 a.m. on March 31, 2016 at the former Club Deception, 1037 7th Ave. in Huntington, causing severe head trauma which ultimately led to Powell’s death.

Drakes has previously said that Powell will not leave his group of friends alone, especially a pregnant friend, and Drakes has lost his temper.

The defense said Powell was a drug dealer who worked at the club, although no drugs were found on his body at the time of his death. Powell didn’t hit the Drakes.

After pleading on Tuesday, Drakes said he hoped that one day the victim’s family could forgive him.

“There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about it, and I’m so sorry for the family,” he said. “I wish I could take it all back.”

Sherry Powell, Brett Powell’s mother, said Drakes stole the joy of her life and the happiness of her family. She said she thought forgiving him was necessary to move forward with her healing, but was still angry. She told Cabell circuit judge Alfred Ferguson that “if we want to be forgiven, we have to forgive”.

Drakes had choices, and he chose anger and violence to take the life of a Christian, she said.

“You deserved so much more,” she said. “As you spend the rest of your life enjoying your freedom, being happy and raising your own children, I hope you remember daily what you have done and the lives you have destroyed. “

She said her son’s life was worth more than the sentence Drakes received.

Drakes had previously been sentenced to serve a maximum of 40 years after being convicted of second degree murder by a jury in December 2017. The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals later dismissed the sentence, saying the circuit court had erred in the instructions he gave describing second degree murder and manslaughter.

Defense attorney Gerald Henderson argued that confused instructions to the jury, evidence that Drakes was leaving the scene, the introduction of bar surveillance video, the conduct of the victim’s family into the room hearing and the forensic pathologist’s testimony had affected the jury’s ability to reach an appropriate verdict.

Assistant District Attorney Lauren Plymale said the whole process after the Supreme Court ruling was disappointing.

West Virginia currently has four sentences for death: first or second degree murder and manslaughter and manslaughter. Plymale said there was a need to better divide the penalties between these four laws and malicious injuries.

“I don’t think the punishment matches the crime in this case, and that’s because we need a change,” she said. “I have spoken to the family and I will personally ask the Legislature to correct the discrepancies.”

Ferguson said he didn’t think the sentence for manslaughter, up to a year in prison, was harsh enough. Henderson said he agreed.

“Killing someone, even if it’s unintentional, should result in more than two years in prison,” he said. “Different states have tougher penalties than West Virginia.”

About William G.

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