Danessa Brisendine pointed at the man who kidnapped and tortured her daughter, and told a judge she has asked God to help her forgive him.
“But I just want to be mad now,” she said Wednesday.
Joey Keith Jeffery, 44, won’t be eligible to get out of prison for at least 24 years. He could spend the rest of his life there after a jury in February found him guilty of kidnapping his cousin, Leanna Quinn.
The jury recommended mercy, meaning he could have been eligible for parole after 15 years on the kidnapping charge. But he was also found guilty of malicious wounding and assault during the commission of a felony, which both carry 2- to 10-year sentences, and second-degree robbery, which carries a 5- to 17-year sentence.
Kanawha Circuit Judge Tod Kaufman gave Jeffery the maximum sentence for those charges, and said they would run one after another.
Assistant Kanawha County prosecutor Tera Salango reminded the judge what Jeffery did to Quinn in 2012 when he thought she had stolen drugs from his trailer. He stabbed Quinn, repeatedly kicked her and used an electrical cord to shock her, before leaving her on the side of a mountain near Witcher Creek in eastern Kanawha County.
Jeffery has an “evil wicked mind. An evil wicked heart,” Salango said.
The prosecutor also told the judge that Jeffery had previously been convicted and spent time in prison for a similar crime, where a woman was found covered in blood after Jeffery slammed her head repeatedly into the side of a bathtub. He was also convicted of bludgeoning puppies to death, Salango said.
Another woman, Cindy Creathers, 38, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery for her role in the incident. As part of her plea bargain, she testified against Jeffery during his four-day trial. Creathers said she was just doing what Jeffrey told her to and she was afraid not to.
Jeffery’s attorney, Shawn Bayliss, argued during trial that the incident had actually been a fight between Creathers and Quinn. Bayliss claimed both had been intimate with Jeffery. Quinn denied that when she testified.
Bayliss said Wednesday that Jeffery and Quinn are drug addicts and that the incident was fueled by a methamphetamine high. Bayliss said Jeffery suffers from bipolar disorder and has a history of mental illness.
Jeffery told Kaufman he was sorry. He addressed Brisendine and said he had previously tried to help her daughter.
“She said I stole her daughter from her, that’s not true,” Jeffery said. He didn’t take the stand during his trial.
Quinn told prosecutors that Jeffery had told her he was going to “put her in the same hole he put” Melanie Metheny in.
Metheny, a Belle resident, disappeared in 2006. Her grandmother, Sandy Metheny, attended Jeffery’s trial. After his sentencing, she made a plea to the media that police continue looking into her granddaughter’s disappearance.
“I want somebody to do something about the case. Why would he say something like that?” Sandy Metheny said.
Kanawha sheriff’s deputies have said the Melanie Metheny case remains open.
Reach Kate White at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-1723.