A Clendenin man on Monday was convicted of all charges stemming from a February 2020 killing and subsequent crime spree.
A Kanawha Circuit Court jury found Joshua Andrew Drennen, 28, guilty of all eight charges, including the slaying of Barbara Steele, 77, of Charleston. Drennen killed Steele inside of her home in the 600 block of Georgia Street on Feb. 12, 2020.
The jury will now decide whether to recommend mercy for Drennen in sentencing. After deliberating for about an hour Monday afternoon, Kanawha Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey ordered jurors to return at 9 a.m. Tuesday to continue their work.
Drennen’s attorney, John Sullivan, asked the jury to grant mercy to his client. During the week-long trial, the defense portrayed Drennen as a man suffering from mental illness, which resulted in the crimes he committed. Drennen faces life in prison with no chance of parole, if the jury does not recommend mercy.
The jury convicted Drennen on charges of murder, petit larceny, first-degree robbery, malicious wounding, assault during the commission of a felony, possession of a stolen vehicle, attempted first-degree robbery and malicious assault of a law enforcement officer.
After killing Steele, Drennen carjacked and attacked a woman near Walgreens on Charleston’s West Side. He then tried to carjack a man at the Exxon/One Stop gas station at Lee Street West and Tennessee Avenue. The man pulled a gun on Drennen, forcing him to run toward Bigley Avenue.
Charleston Police Officer Terrence “Austin” Casto confronted Drennen on Bigley Avenue in front of the Go-Mart. As soon as Casto exited his vehicle, Drennen struck him multiple times in the head with an antique iron.
After being knocked to the ground, Casto fired his service weapon at Drennen, striking him twice. Both were taken to an area hospital, and Casto was released shortly after. Footage from Casto’s bodycam was shown to jurors during trial.