UPDATE: The Kanawha County man accused of killing a co-worker and then burying her remains in his backyard has plead guilty to the murder.
Charlie March, 60, pleaded guilty to first degree murder Wednesday afternoon for the April 2010 murder of Kathy Goble.
Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants said it’s a positive thing when you can secure a first degree murder conviction without having to go to trial.
“There are risks when you go to trial and also there are lots of negatives for the victim’s family when your forced to trial,” said Plants. “So this undoubtedly a good thing for the state of West Virginia.”
March was expected to enter his plea Wednesday morning but Kanawha County Circuit Judge Duke Bloom gave March five more hours to consider his decision after he showed hesitation on his part.
Friend of the Goble family Billy Herrald said March’s plea doesn’t change anyone’s opinion of him.
“I don’t feel any different and I don’t believe anyone else feels any different about Mr. March or the situation,” said Herrald. “Nothing he says or said will bring her back and that’s the ultimate thing that everyone has to deal with for the rest of their lives.”
March entered a Kennedy Plea which means he does not admit guilt, but he knows prosecutors have enough evidence to convict him for the crime.
As part of the plea deal, March plead guilty to the first count against him for first degree murder, and the prosecution dropped the second count for concealing Goble’s body.
Goble’s dismembered body was found nearly two years after her disappearance in 2010 buried in the backyard of March’s Chesapeake home.
While in court, March spoke out about him being guilty, but he claimed he did not intentionally murder Goble.
Plants said the evidence proved otherwise.
“The evidence of trial would have been that he intentionally strangled her to death until there was no life left in her and he intentionally put a bag over her head so the evidence would have said something different,” said Plants.
Plants said if there would have been a trial, the evidence would have showed March was guilty.
This was the third time March was suppose to plead guilty to the death of Goble but Judge Bloom refused to take the pleas because not all the evidence in the case was ready.
Both Goble and March worked together at the Kelley’s Men’s Shop.
Herrald said with the guilty plea the family can now begin to move on and focus on who Goble was and remembering her legacy.
“She was always smiling, always happy,” said Herrald. “She just brought joy to everyone that she came in contact with.”
Herrald said he believes the hardest part is behind them now.
March faces life behind bars when sentenced January 31, 2013 at 2:30 p.m.
PREVIOUS: The Kanawha County man accused of killing a co-worker and then burying her remains in his backyard was set to plead guilty Wednesday morning in Kanawha County Circuit Court. But Charlie March, the former shoe salesman at Kelleys Men’s Shop, did not do the expected.
After saying he was a little unsure about the plea deal he was about to agree to, Judge Duke Bloom announced he was giving March more time to think.
“I am not going to rush the process. We can come back later this afternoon at 3:00 and take up the issue as whether you want to plea or not,” said Bloom.
March was set to plea guilty to the death of Kathy Goble last month. But Judge Bloom refused to take the plea because not all the evidence in the case was ready. The autopsy report wasn’t complete and crime scene evidence was still not back from the Smithsonian.
Goble disappeared in April 2010. Her abandoned vehicle was located in Putnam County. Nearly two years to the day later, Goble’s remains were found in a shallow grave in March’s backyard in Chesapeake.
Since his arrest in April of this year, March attempted suicide at the South Central Regional Jail. He was confined to a hospital bed, then to a wheelchair for his appearances in court. But Wednesday, he slowly walked on his own in and out of the courtroom.
Judge Bloom told March that five more hours thinking about the possibility of a plea should give him enough time to decide whether he wants to go through with it or not.
“Make sure that you are confident and not confused about your options of pleading guilty or not guilty and that you understand the consequences of it. And that is a keeper,” said Bloom.
“Yes sir, I understand,” said March.
The family of the victim says they just want to put the plea hearing behind them and move on.