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Life without parole for man convicted in Fairmont child abuse death

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — A 36-year-old Fairmont man has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the abuse and death of his girlfriend’s 4-year-old son in 2021.

Walter Richardson

Walter Richardson, was sentenced Monday in Marion County Circuit Court.

Richardson was originally charged with child abuse resulting in serious injury but that was upgraded to first-degree murder and death of a child by a parent or guardian by child abuse after the boy died days later in the hospital.

Richardson apologized to the family and community during Monday’s hearing and asked for forgiveness.

Ashlee Allen, the child’s mother, who knew Richardson was abusing the child but failed to report it, was sentenced to prison in a hearing last year. Her next parole hearing is scheduled for March 2026.

Also, two former CPS workers who failed to report abuse in the case, Breeana Bizub and Tabetha Phillips-Friend, were terminated, pleaded no contest in January 2022, and agreed to pay restitution.

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