CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Charleston man accused of killing a 90-year-old Kanawha City resident in his home in January pleaded guilty to the murder Monday morning as his trial was scheduled to begin.
Anthony David Caldwell, 40, killed George Molle Jr. in Molle’s home on MacCorkle Avenue. Caldwell worked for a lawn-care business Molle used, police said. There was no sign of forced entry to the home, and a bloody hammer and bloody work gloves were found in a trash can near the residence. A jar of coins and a cigar box with money were missing from the home.
Caldwell faces life without the chance of parole. As he pleaded guilty today, he told Kanawha Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey how he killed Molle.
“I hit him in the head with a hammer, which resulted in death,” Caldwell told the judge.
Molle’s body was discovered shortly after he was killed on Jan. 3. A neighbor called police because Molle hadn’t turned on a back porch light, as he usually did to let neighbors know he was going to bed.
Molle moved with his family to Kanawha City when he was 5 years old, and he spent the rest of his life there, except for his stint in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He worked for 40 years as a glass cutter at the Libbey-Owens-Ford plant, several blocks down MacCorkle Avenue from his house.
Earlier this month, Kanawha Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey granted Caldwell’s lawyer, public defender Rick Holicker, the opportunity to visit Molle’s home. Holicker said police photographs of the scene wouldn’t be enough to defend Caldwell when “his entire life is at stake.”
Bailey will sentence Caldwell Sept. 19. He faces life in prison without mercy. If granted mercy, he could be eligible for parole after serving 15 years in jail. As part of the deal, Kanawha assistant prosecutor Michele Bailey said she wouldn’t argue whether Caldwell should receive mercy.
The deal with prosecutors also drops first-degree robbery and burglary charges Caldwell also was indicted on.
After his arrest, Caldwell apologized during his arraignment in Magistrate Court. “It was a mistake,” he said at the time.
About five family members and friends of Molle attended the hearing. They didn’t want to comment.
Caldwell’s sister comforted his 13-year-old daughter. They both cried during the hearing.
“I don’t uphold his actions, but he’s still my brother,” Caldwell’s sister said after the hearing. She didn’t want to give her name.
Caldwell has three children, he told the judge. He turned to his three family members sitting in the courtroom before being taken out. “I love you guys,” he said.
Reach Kate White at firstname.lastname@example.org, 304-348-1723 or follow @KateLWhite on Twitter.