A 40-year-old Kermit man faces life imprisonment with mercy after having entered a plea of guilty Tuesday to first degree murder in connection with the shooting death of his estranged wife.
Roger Dale Stroud entered the guilty plea in Mingo County Circuit Court and Chief Judge Michael Thornsbury set sentencing for 9 a.m. on Oct. 18. The defendant was remanded to Southwestern Regional Jail to await sentencing.
According to a criminal complaint filed by investigating authorities after the shooting, Stroud had loaded his wife's body into a refrigerator, which was already in the back of his truck. The appliance, containing the body, was later found by relatives over a hillside on a mine site where it had been dumped by Stroud in an attempt to hid the body.
Stroud, who was represented by Williamson Attorneys Ronald J. Rumora and Marsha Webb-Rumora, pleaded guilty to shooting his extranged wife, Vadie Michelle Stroud, 29, of Kermit on Sept. 21, 2009.
In his petition to enter a guilty plea Tuesday, Stroud stated he had gone to Kermit Coal the morning of the incident to discuss their marriage with his estranged wife.
He said the two began arguing about a telephone call that came in and "I lost my head, got and gun and shot her." The weapon was identified as a revolver.
Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney C. Michael Sparks prosecuted the case. Sgt. Joe Smith of the Mingo County Sheriff's Department was the primary investigating officer and both he and the sheriff's department were lauded by Sparks for "an outstanding investigation."
The prosecutor said "Justice was served in this case. The defendant has been held accountable for the heinous murder of Vadie Michelle Stroud."
Sparks noted that the prosecuting attorney's office has achieved felony convictions in 72 cases this year, including two murder convictions.
The lengthy petition signed by Stroud in connection with his guilty plea noted that the defendant had the charges contained in his April 10, 2010 indictment thoroughly explained by his attorneys, along with the penalties he could face if convicted in a trial, and his right to a trial by jury if he so chose it.
The charge of first degree murder was contained in Count I of his indictment. The state of West Virginia will ask dismissal of Count I of the indictment which charged Stroud with concealing the deceased body of his wife. The state also will recommend that Stroud received credit for the time he served in the regional jail while awaiting action in his case.
(Jurors were selected Tuesday for another murder case in which Tommy Blaine Vance II is charged with wanton endangerment and first degree murder. Vance, who is represented by Logan Attorney Brian Abraham, is scheduled to go on trial today.
Vance is charged with performing an act with a firearm which created a substantial risk or death or serious bodily injury to Jason Andrew Lee and Amy Hammonds on Nov. 14, 2009. He also is charged with first degree murder of Jason Andrew Lee in the same incident.)