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Judge sentences Everett

From staff and wire reports

CLARKSBURG -- A Clarksburg man could spend as long as 17 years in prison after pleading guilty Wednesday to voluntary manslaughter and fourth-degree arson.

Gerald C. Everett entered the pleas in connection with the July 2000 death of Anmoore resident Donna Critchfield. Everett was accused of killing Critchfield and then setting her home on fire to conceal the crime.

Everett also allegedly stole Critchfield's car, purse and a video game system. Everett initially was charged with first-degree murder and grand larceny.

Everett appeared before Harrison County Circuit Judge Thomas Bedell in April, where he was charged with fourth-degree arson. Everett waived his right to a grand jury and offered to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter and the arson charge.

Voluntary manslaughter carries a prison term of 3-15 years. Fourth-degree arson carries a prison term of 1-2 years, a fine of up to $2,500 or both.

Bedell accepted Everett's plea agreement and reduced charges to fourth-degree arson and voluntary manslaughter, said Scott Reynolds, assistant prosecuting attorney on Wednesday.

Everett will serve 15 years for voluntary manslaughter and 2 years for arson. Both will run consecutively.

He was also granted 9 months credit for time he has already served.

The victim's mother, Leah Henline, said she doesn't believe justice was served.

"The man will only get a maximum of 17 years, and my daughter's gone forever," Henline said.

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