CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — A Jefferson County man who entered a plea in the death of a WVU student has been sentenced to twenty years behind bars.
Braden Fitzgerald, 18, had entered a plea to a lesser charge in exchange for his testimony. The charges stem from the death of Ryan Mumaw, 21, of Charles Town, who was shot during what prosecutors have described as a calculated robbery in July of last year in a Jefferson County subdivision. Mumaw had been a senior at WVU at the time of his death.
Testimony in the case had indicated Fitzgerald and three others, Rakeem Newman, 22, Malakye Boyd, 19, and Tayjuhn Coble, 19, had planned to meet Ryan and his brother Dylan under the pretext of buying marijuana, but had instead intended to rob the pair of the drugs.
Newman, the reported gunman, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Boyd received a life sentence with mercy, meaning he could be eligible for parole in 15 years. Coble received a 15-year sentence after pleading to a lesser charge in exchange for his testimony, but could be eligible for parole in seven years.
Twenty-Third Judicial Circuit Judge Debra McLaughlin denied a defense request to remand Fitzgerald to the Anthony Center for Youthful offenders. McLaughlin said the terms of the original plea agreement would not allow Fitzgerald be sent to the Anthony Center, although the 18-year-old could be eligible for educational programs as part of the Department of Correction’s recommendation.
Jefferson County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Tim Helman said the Anthony Center should never have been on the table.
“You know, the Defense made a last minute try to get the benefit of the plea agreement but still get a lighter classification in the Division of Corrections, but the judge didn’t buy it,” Helman said. “So, the defendant goes to prison today, and hopefully he stays there for a long time.”
During the sentencing, members of Ryan Mumaw’s family read impact statements from his brother and sister.
Dylan Mumaw, who was in the car with his brother when he died, said, “I’ll never forget what he looked like dying.”
Dylan Mumaw blamed Fitzgerald for setting up the proposed marijuana deal with the two brothers and said, “Those other three (co-defendants) wouldn’t have been in our lives without you.”
Ryan was remembered as a loving brother.
“No one can ever take his place,” Dylan Mumaw’s statement continued. “It’s hard to move on in my life without Ryan.”
Mumaw’s family thanked law enforcement for their efforts. Sheriff Pete Dougherty said throughout the July 19 events, there were a lot of bad decisions made, but today may bring some closure to the victim’s family.
“Victims have some relief from the fact that I think justice has been done, that all the defendants are going to jail,” Dougherty said. “They’ll be there, not as long as some would like, but they’re going there.”
Fitzgerald will be transferred to Tygart Valley Correctional Facility. He could be eligible for parole before his 30th birthday.
Three other co-defendants have also been sentenced in the case.