This is a case about guns, drugs and death.” That’s how Assistant Kanawha County Prosecutor Fred Giggenbach described the shooting death of David Booker, in October 2012, carried out by Richard Hilliard.
Hilliard, 24, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in connection with the case last month. Kanawha County Circuit Judge Duke Bloom handed down his sentence on Thursday.
“Nothing short of the maximum 15-year sentence is appropriate in this case,” ruled Bloom.
Hilliard and Andre Williamson gave Booker a ride on the night of the murder to Charleston’s East End. Hilliard testified during his plea hearing that Booker, who was sitting in the back seat, pulled a gun on Williamson. Hilliard said “That’s when I reacted and shot him.”
During Thursday’s sentencing, Hilliard’s lawyer asked the judge to show his client leniency. He proposed probation or that Hilliard be sentenced to the Anthony Center for Youthful Offenders.
Hilliard told the judge that he never meant to shoot Booker.
“It was me being provoked that caused my reaction,” said Hilliard. “It wasn’t anything that I could say was deliberate or planned…I just overreacted.”
Giggenbach asked for the maximum sentence saying Charleston had turned into a shooting gallery. He added just days after Hilliard entered his plea, Williamson was involved in a shoot-out on the West Side where 70 rounds were fired, and an innocent bystander injured, in retaliation for Booker’s death.
Judge Bloom remanded Hilliard to the state penitentiary.