Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

WV State News

September 20, 2012

W.Va. man sentenced for pregnant woman's death

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. (AP) — A Morgan County man who pleaded guilty to killing his pregnant girlfriend will spend at least 21 years in prison.

Assistant prosecutor Dan James says 24-year-old James T. Zell Jr. received the maximum 40-year sentence for second-degree murder in the death of 20-year-old Kelly Elizabeth Butler.

James tells The Herald-Mail (http://bit.ly/NEqTpk ) of Hagerstown, Md., that Zell also received a 20-year sentence for the death of Butler's unborn child and one to five years for hiding her body. Zell pleaded guilty to the charges in August.

Zell will be eligible for parole after serving 21 years in prison. He received a one-to-10-year term earlier this year in a breaking-and-entering case.

Zell was charged with strangling Butler in December 2011 and hiding her body in a Hampshire County cabin.

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Information from: The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown, Md., http://www.herald-mail.com

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