GRAFTON, W.Va. — A Marion County man will serve close to a half century behind bars, at least, following convictions for his role in a 2016 home invasion in Taylor County.
Robert A. Chester, 29, formerly of Fairmont, could spend the rest of his life in prison after sentences on three of four felony convictions resulted in more than 180 years of prison time.
Chester and co-defendant Michael A. Ketterman, 54, were arrested for their involvement in an Aug. 2016 home invasion in Flemington. Chester was convicted last month on a number of charges after investigators said they broke into the home of two sisters and looted a safe in the home. Ketterman also pleaded guilty to charges related to the home invasion.
“Accosted them while they were still asleep in their beds,” Marion County Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Freeman said. “Presented firearms to their heads, bound them with zip ties, threw one on the floor breaking her leg in multiple places.”
Freeman was appointed as a special prosecutor in the case after a conflict of interest arose in the Ketterman case with the Taylor County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
“[They’re] actively involved in all of it,” Freeman said. “Two men: masks, gun, one had a gun, Ketterman had a knife. Zip-tied the hands of both victims.”
One of the women was ill at the time of the break-in, according to the Taylor County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Another women at the home escaped while Chester and Ketterman were looting the safe.
“At gunpoint forced her to open the safe — at one point placing a gun in her mouth,” Freeman said. “While they were looting the safes, and their attention was diverted, she was able to flee to a neighboring residence and get help — not knowing whether her sister was dead or alive.”
“It was extremely violent, extremely terrifying.”
Chester will serve a minimum of 46 years in prison on these three convictions. Ketterman has not yet been sentenced.
Chester is also serving two additional sentences concurrently for his actions when Fairmont Police attempted to serve the warrant for his arrest last August. He was convicted of leading police on a chase through town, hitting multiple police cruisers in the process. The concurrent sentences of one to five years and one to 10 years were handed out Monday.
Although Chester was convicted on four charges related to the Taylor County home invasion, he was not sentenced on the burglary charge. Freeman will again see Chester in court for a jury trial that could result in a life sentence with mercy for Chester. Chester had two previous felony convictions, making him eligible for a three strike recidivist prosecution. The jury trial has not yet been scheduled.
Chester claims he is not the person previously convicted of those crimes.