CHARLESTON, W.Va. --A judge Tuesday ordered a Sissonville man who pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in July to undergo a psychological evaluation before she sentences him.
"I want to have the benefit of understanding who this is in front of me before I sentence him," said Kanawha Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey.
Dale Thomas Newhouse, 55, faces 3 to 15 years in the shooting death of James "Jamie" Bryan Shaffer last September.
Newhouse was to be sentenced Tuesday, but after his neighbor and sister testified on his behalf, Bailey sent him to the Northern Regional Jail for a 60-day evaluation.
Bill Forbes, Newhouse's attorney, requested that Bailey give Newhouse no more than five years because of his age, health problems and the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
Forbes said, about three months before Shaffer's death, Shaffer's half-brother, Joshua Snyder, had attacked Newhouse and left him in a coma with a brain injury, according to Forbes.
"They just happened to be related," assistant Kanawha County prosecutor Michele Drummond pointed out, adding Shaffer didn't have any involvement in that beating.
"He took Mr. Shaffer's life," Drummond said about Newhouse. "Due to the nature of the crime and the lack of responsibility and remorse," Drummond asked Bailey to sentence him to the maximum 15 years.
According to police, Shaffer called 911 at about 1 a.m. last Sept. 27 to report that Newhouse had shot him. Shaffer told an emergency dispatcher that Newhouse was standing over him with a 9-mm handgun.