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Kanawha County judge gives man maximum sentence following second-degree murder plea

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Kanawha County circuit judge sentenced a man to 40 years behind bars Tuesday for a March 2022 shooting death.

Mike’o Wooten (WCHS-TV)

Judge Maryclaire Akers went beyond the 20 years that prosecutors were recommending in the case of Mike’o Wooten and gave him the maximum 40 years for second degree murder.

Wooten, who at one time had a Dunbar address, entered a plea bargain with prosecutors in May.

Wooten shot and killed Keyshawnta St. John, 21, of Charleston, on March 13, 2022, at a residence on Bigley Avenue. The shooting came after Wooten and co-defendant Davone Foote traveled to Charleston from Washington, D.C. to rob a drug-dealer. Prosecutors said St. John, also a drug dealer, was the conduit to the robbery attempt.

The robbery didn’t happen and Wooten said he shot St. John during an argument that took place after the attempt.

St. John’s father, who prosecutors previously said didn’t agree with plea deal for Wooten, spoke directly to Wooten during Tuesday’s sentencing.

“You’re a so-called friend. You knew him. You went with him more than once and you took him out of here. You’re not God,” the father said, who asked the court not to identify him by name.

St. John suffered multiple gunshot wounds to his chest.

“I don’t know who you are but you’re the person you think you are,” St. John’s father said Tuesday. “You should have never did what you did. I feel like you should be sentenced the right way.”

The father was in the house at the time of the shooting.

Four of St. John’s family members spoke during the sentencing.

Wooten apologized. He told the court he grew up Christian and his parents raised him better than the way he acted.

Akers scolded Wooten for coming to Charleston to commit a crime.

“What his father said is right, you’re not God. You don’t get to make those decisions,” Akers said.

Prosecutors previously said the plea bargain was the best option because Wooten may have had an argument for self-defense.

Foote pleaded guilty earlier this year to conspiracy to commit burglary. He was sentenced to the Anthony Center.

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