Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

February 6, 2014

MacDonald, Kanode plead guilty to first-degree murder of Princeton woman

PRINCETON — In separate hearings, a Mercer County man and woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to first-degree murder in the July 2013 death of a Princeton woman.

Steven Brandon MacDonald, 33, appeared Wednesday afternoon for a plea hearing before Circuit Court Judge Derek Swope. MacDonald’s co-defendant, Latasha Kanode, 23, of Mercer County, pleaded guilty before Swope earlier that same day, said Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ash.

MacDonald pleaded guilty to first-degree murder with mercy, first-degree robbery, attempt to commit first-degree murder and conspiracy. The sentences could run consecutively. MacDonald would have to serve a minimum of 24 years before being eligible for parole, Ash said.

Kanode pleaded guilty to similar charges and faces approximately the same number of years in prison.

Swope warned MacDonald that he still faces the possibility of life in prison.

Ash said the state would have shown that MacDonald and Kanode, who were “romantic partners,” went to the home of a person they knew, Sherry Matthews, 44, of Thornton Avenue, near Princeton, on July 15, 2013 to rob her.

Edward Lee Thomas, 41, of Princeton had been sleeping on Matthews’ couch when MacDonald and Kanode arrived, Ash stated.

 An argument broke out, and MacDonald shot Matthews twice in the head, Ash said. MacDonald also shot Thomas in the head, but he survived and was later treated and released at Princeton Community Hospital. MacDonald’s gun was later found under the hood of his vehicle.

Approximately $11,000 in cash was stolen during the robbery, Ash said.

Sentencing for MacDonald was set for March, and Kanode’s sentencing date was not immediately available.

They were remanded back to the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver.

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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