CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Rand man who pleaded guilty to killing his best friend last year after a nightlong alcohol and cocaine binge was sentenced Friday to life in prison without parole.
Tremale Leon Straughter, 30, apologized to the mother and family of Harold Donovan "Don Don" Taylor at the beginning of a sentencing hearing before Kanawha Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey.
Taylor, 29 at the time of his death, was gunned down in his car in Rand on Feb. 14 after he and Straughter got into an argument, according to police. Straughter pleaded guilty in November to murder. He admitted that he opened up on Taylor with an AK-47 semiautomatic rifle, circled the block, then came back to shoot Taylor again.
In all, 25 shots were fired, seven of which hit Taylor.
"Every day I sit in jail and I think about what I did," Straughter said Friday in a courtroom filled with family and friends of Taylor on one side of the room, and his own friends and family on the other. Straughter said he had been friends with Taylor since second grade.
Ed ReBrook, Straughter's attorney, suggested Straughter was so intoxicated on alcohol and cocaine the night of the shooting that he didn't really know what he was doing and didn't understand right from wrong.
ReBrook asked Bailey to take Straughter's condition the night of the shooting into consideration and grant him mercy, "so at least someday he can get out of prison," he said.
But members of Taylor's family weren't buying the argument. Speaking at the hearing, Taylor's aunts said they didn't understand how, if Straughter didn't know what he was doing, he could shoot at Taylor, leave and come back to open up again.