March gets life in Goble murder
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Chesapeake man who admitted to strangling his co-worker to death, dismembering her and burying her in his back yard will spend the rest of his life in prison with no chance of parole.
Charles Eugene March, 61, said at his sentencing hearing Thursday in Kanawha County Circuit Court that he was resigned to the idea that he would die in prison because of his poor health, and offered a meek apology for killing Sheila "Kathy" Goble in 2010.
"I don't know how long I will live, or whether I will see the outside world again," March said. "But, frankly, I doubt that I will, no matter what my sentence is."
March was arrested last April after his son, who was attempting to fill a sinkhole, found human body parts buried in the back yard of his father's property in Chesapeake. Forensic examiners confirmed that the remains belonged to Goble, who March worked with at Kelley's Mens Shop in Charleston.
March admitted to investigators that he strangled Goble to death, but said that he only did so because she asked him to. Prosecutors said there has been no evidence to suggest that was the case.
After he killed her, March used at least one saw to dismember Goble and bury her in his back yard.
"I am not asking for understanding, because there is no understanding this," March said Thursday. "I don't understand it and, despite my pleas to God, he hasn't yet helped me to understand what brought me to do what I did. I hope he will in time."
Kanawha County assistant prosecutor Fred Giggenbach accused March of insincerity, and pointed out that he passed by Goble's "missing" posters pinned at Kelley's Mens Shop during the two years she lay in a shallow grave on his property.
"A man who does that does not have a conscience," Giggenbach said. "Mr. March needs to spend his last breath looking at the ceiling of the prison or the prison walls."
March's defense team asked Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom to consider granting him mercy, which would make him eligible for parole after serving 15 years of a life sentence. Bloom denied the request.
During the first few minutes of the hearing, March held his head in his hands as forensic anthropologist Douglas William Owlsey, of the Smithsonian Institute, described photos that flashed on a projector screen. Some of the photos showed digital representations of neck bones March fractured when he strangled Goble. Others showed Goble's body parts, wrapped in some sort of plastic, lying in the 4-foot by 2-foot grave that had been dug for her body.
Owlsey said that impressions in Goble's nasal area might suggest that her nose was struck and broken at some point before her death. March's lawyer, Richard Holicker, noted that the anthropologist was only speculating. Owlsey said that her nose also could have been broken during the course of the dismemberment.
Just before he handed down Thursday's sentence, Bloom called March's acts "monstrous" and added that Goble's strangulation in particular was a "cold, calculated, personal death."
Goble's family members declined to speak directly during the sentencing. Friend Billy Herrald said there was not much he could say that was not already said by prosecutors.
"He will not see the light of day outside of prison for the rest of his life," Herrald said. "It's a relief." Reach Zac Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5189.