POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. - Two Letart men who were set to go on trial for murder Monday have agreed to a plea bargain, while a second murder trial set to begin Tuesday has been continued to April.
Jeffrey A. Dorsey and Michael L. Neal Jr., both of Letart, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and conspiracy to commit a felony in Mason County Circuit Court, Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Damon B. Morgan Jr. said.
Dorsey and Neal caused the death of Francis Leroy Pickens, also of Letart.
During the evening of July 11, 2004, Neal and Dorsey were involved in what investigators say was an altercation with Pickens over a “household item” at his Quincy Road residence. Pickens died the following day at Cabell Huntington Hospital.
They were indicted by the September 2004 grand jury on charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping, conspiracy to commit a felony, burglary and assault.
Sentencing for Neal has been set for Feb. 6, 2006, while Dorsey's is scheduled for Feb. 15, Morgan said. Both will receive sentences of three to 15 years for the voluntary manslaughter charge and one to five years for the conspiracy charge.
They will serve their sentences at a West Virginia Correctional Facility, Morgan said.
On Tuesday, Dorist Franklin Bonecutter Jr. of Point Pleasant was to go on trial for the alleged killing of his wife, Donna, in 2003. His defense attorney made a motion in court to continue the trial, Morgan said. It has been rescheduled for April 3.
Bonecutter was indicted by the May 2005 grand jury for the alleged July 2, 2003, murder of his wife who was found at a mobile home on Sandhill Road.
Around 3 a.m. that morning, Donna Bonecutter's body was found on the porch of a second mobile home that she was living in. Mr. Bonecutter was released on bond.
The next grand jury will be meeting Jan. 3, 2006.