A Charleston man was sentenced to more than 100 years in prison on Monday for violently beating a 65-year-old woman in her home during a robbery on the city’s West Side.
Kanawha Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit sentenced Russell Ray Slater, 43, of Charleston to 100 years for first-degree robbery, up to 15 years for felony burglary, up to 10 years for assault during the commission of a felony, 10 years for use of a firearm during the commission of a felony and a year for possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. The sentences will run one after the other, so Slater will not be eligible for parole for more than 30 years.
Slater was convicted by a jury of the charges in April after a two-day trial. Prosecutors said he broke into Theresa Moore’s home on April 29, 2018, and began beating her with the crowbar, saying, “I’m going to kill you, bitch.”
While struggling with Slater, Moore ran into her living room to grab a gun, but Slater was able to grab it first and pointed it at her, threatening to kill her once again. He ended up leaving with her purse, pieces of jewelry and the gun.
Slater maintained his innocence throughout Monday’s sentencing, telling Tabit that he believes Moore deserves justice for what happened to her but that he would never do something like that to a woman.
Moore, who was visibly upset, then stood before the judge and described the attack. She said she continues to have problems with her physical health, and her mental health as well.
“I said from the beginning that only by the grace of God am I here because being on Coumadin [a blood-thinning medication] and him beating me with a crowbar, I’m lucky that the bleeding stopped,” she said.
“I still have problems with headaches, my eyesight is still [being treated] by an eye doctor and especially my arm,” she said. “I decided to put my arm up to defend myself from him hitting me again on the head.”
Moore said she hears over and over the words Slater said when he was threatening to kill her. She said she being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder.
“You can see I’m a little bit upset, which I’ve been doing pretty well not being upset, but I guess addressing the court and having Mr. Slater in this room saying that he still didn’t do it just really irritates me and upsets me,” she said. “I live in fear. I call the police constantly. The first year I didn’t go out of my house hardly at all.”
Assistant Kanawha County prosecutor Adam Petry asked Tabit to sentence Slater to the maximum time possible, because of his previous burglary convictions and his extensive criminal history that included other charges, such as domestic violence.
Slater reacted to Petry by making faces and smirking.
Tabit quickly reminded Slater of the seriousness of the situation and told him to “get the smirk off” of his face.
“This is not funny, Judge,” Petry said. “There is nothing funny about this. There’s nothing funny about what this victim had to go through and what she’s going to continue to have to go through for what he did.”
Before handing down the sentence, Tabit said she was troubled that Slater never acknowledged or took any responsibility for “the horror that was committed.”
“Our homes are our sanctuaries. They are our havens where we should be able to feel safe and secure and not have the stressors of the outdoors looming all around us,” she said. “I am not sure Ms. Moore is going to be able to feel that way again in her home and be able to enjoy the peace I believe you so violently violated that day last spring.”
Slater once again maintained that he didn’t attack Moore. In response, Tabit began reading his criminal history and his previous threats to kill women.
Before leaving the courtroom, Slater said he would appeal his sentence to the state Supreme Court and that they would release him. He added that he didn’t want Tabit to be his judge.
“Well, I’m not your judge anymore,” Tabit said. “There’s going to be five Supreme Court Justices that will have an opportunity to review the record and make a determination as to whether they believe what I did was appropriate under the law, and I assure you, sir, that I’m confident that it was.”