JUMPING BRANCH, WV (LOOTPRESS) – The conclusion of a trial over 2 years in the works saw a man charged with murder ultimately receive a sentence of home confinement Friday.
Jimmy Roger Dunford of Jumping Branch was 67 years old at the time of his arrest for First Degree Murder on August 29, 2020 – an arrest that comprises the entirety of Dunford’s criminal history.
The charge stems from an incident in which Dunford, during an altercation with his nephew Jeremy Dunford who was 42 at the time, fired a shot which struck the victim in the shoulder.
Jeremy Dunford would succumb to his injuries during transport for medical attention.
Trial proceedings painted a picture of the events leading up to the altercation, which purportedly saw the victim intoxicated, behaving aggressively and recklessly, brandishing a firearm, and making threats on the property of the defendant.
The compound-style property, located near the Raleigh County line, also housed the residences of Jimmy Dunford’s adult son and daughter, while the victim resided down the road nearby.
The state of the victim at the time of the altercation having been the latest in a pattern series of such behavior, the defendant informed his brother – the victim’s father – that he did not wish for the victim to return to the property.
Shortly after, the victim called the defendant in an aggressive and threatening manner, after which the defendant, perturbed, fired off a number of shots at nothing in particular. The defendant then informed his children that the victim was not to return to property, instructing them to contact him if this occurred.
Jeremy Dunford returned to the property soon after, provoking an altercation upon exiting his vehicle while clearly wielding a firearm, an AR-15 which had once belonged to the daughter of the defendant. It was also outside the daughter’s residence where these events were taking place.
Shots were fired, though only one made contact. The defendant’s shot struck the victim in the shoulder and penetrated the chest area, ultimately resulting in life-ending injuries.
However, attorney Josh Brown who represented the defendant during the trial proceedings explains that the court found that the victim, Jeremy Dunford, had fired the first shot in the exchange.
“At trial the jury was instructed there was sufficient evidence of self defense. The state saw First Degree [Murder], the jury came back with Second [Degree],” Brown explained speaking with LOOTPRESS following the verdict.
“The judge considered a pre-sentencing investigation report, as well as the facts at trial and the client’s non-existent criminal history, and felt it appropriate to serve the minimum sentence of 10 years which he could serve on home confinement.”
The hearing, over which Judge Robert A. Irons presided and which included testimony from West Virginia State Trooper Ellison, saw the court impose a 10 year suspended sentence which the defendant would be able to serve on home confinement.
“The facts of the case in the interest of justice did not support a prison sentence,” said Brown, who believed a full acquittal for his client for self-defense would have been appropriate given the circumstances.
In this instance, should Dunford violate the terms of the sentence, the sentence itself can be converted to a full 10-year prison sentence.
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