ELKINS - An Elkins man was sentenced to 40 years in a state penitentiary Thursday after pleading guilty to one count of second degree murder.
Wade Raese, 25, was sentenced by Judge Thomas Steptoe in Randolph County Circuit Court Thursday. Steptoe, a senior status judge from Jefferson County, took over the case after Circuit Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong recused herself due to a conflict of interest.
"This is a very tragic situation and no sentence that is handed down can bring the victim back to life," Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker said in a statement released to The Inter-Mountain Thursday. "However, I am pleased that Judge Steptoe followed the recommendation of the state and sentenced the defendant to the maximum 40-year sentence, given the facts and circumstances of this case."
Steptoe also ordered that restitution be paid in the matter as well. Young's sister and cousin were present at Thursday's hearing. Parker said Young's family was in agreement with the sentence.
Raese's attorney, Phil Isner, did not return phone calls as of press time.
On March 24, Raese waived his right to an indictment and pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder. Raese was accused of fatally shooting 45-year-old Ryan Earl Young of Duncan, S.C., on July 15, while Raese, Young and a third individual were riding in a car in the Highland Park area of Randolph County.
Upon arrival at the hospital, officers were informed of Young's name by staff and a female acquaintance of the victim. The acquaintance told police Raese shot the victim inside an automobile while all three were riding through Highland Park, according to the criminal complaint.
The acquaintance, whose name was not released, allegedly told police she was driving the vehicle when Young, who was in the front passenger seat, was shot. The acquaintance stated Raese was sitting in the back passenger seat behind Young when he shot him, according to the complaint.
After an extensive search, including interviews with Raese's friends and family, Raese called authorities and revealed his location to them on July 16. Police picked Raese up at the Central Towers apartment building in Elkins. He was taken into custody by the Randolph County Sheriff's Office.
Raese was initially charged with attempted murder; however, police amended that charge to first-degree murder when the victim, Young, died at Ruby Memorial Hospital on July 20, several days after suffering the gunshot wound to the back of the head.