EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSQUADRUPLE MURDER SUSPECT
from Eyewitness News Online
Quadruple Murder Suspect Accepted Plea In Murder Case In 2005
Reported by: Kallie Cart
Videographer: John Tincher
Web Producer: Kallie Cart
Reported: May. 29, 2012 6:22 PM EDT
Updated: May. 29, 2012 6:30 PM EDT
Leivasy , Nicholas County , West Virginia
We continue to learn more about the man arrested for a quadruple murder in Nicholas County. This isn't the first time James Belknap has been arrested for murder and the two crimes are very similar.
The murder in 2005 happened on his property outside of Leivasy, which is where police say the family of four was also found dead this weekend. The 2005 case was also very gruesome and over drugs.
In 2005, James Belknap and his father Kenneth were both initially charge with murder and kidnapping for killing a man named Richard Parnell. According to court documents, the father and son were trying to get cocaine. James gave the victim, Parnell $350 and then drove him and another man to get the drugs with that money. But when Parnell couldn't get the quantity James wanted, court documents say, he drove the men to his family's home in a secluded area off of White Buck Knob Road in Nicholas County.
Court documents say the men wanted out of the vehicle, but James refused to stop until he got the men to his house. Once there, his dad, Kennetth, came outside with a gun and took Parnell to a wooded area. Kenneth then told his son to get the other man out of there. While James was gone, police say Kenneth beat Parnell, locked him in a pig pen and then shot him twice, killing him. Kenneth then soaked Parnell with kerosene and set him and the pig pen on fire. Police say over the next couple of days James helped his dad re-ignite the fire until the victims remains were gone.
Both the father and son gave partial confessions to their roles in the crime. James was initially indicted for murder but the prosecutor at the time, Mark Hudnall, cut a deal with James. He plead guilty to a cocaine charge in exchange for his testimony and the murder charge was dropped. He was sentenced to a year in prison. His dad was convicted of first degree murder and remains in prison.
Eyewitness News tried to reach Hudnall, who is now in private practice, to get his response but our call was not returned.
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