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Woods photo

Arthur Woods appears virtually in Kanawha Circuit Judge Tod Kaufman’s courtroom Thursday for his sentencing hearing.

A judge on Thursday accepted a plea agreement for a Nicholas County man accused of killing his wife in 2016 shortly after they moved to Charleston.

Kanawha Circuit Judge Tod Kaufman accepted the plea agreement for Arthur Owen Woods, 41, of Mount Nebo. Woods pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, and pursuant to the agreement will receive a three-year prison sentence.

The agreement was a binding plea, meaning Woods’ sentence was non-negotiable after he pleaded guilty on Nov. 24. A judge must either accept or reject the agreement.

A voluntary manslaughter conviction in West Virginia carries a 3- to 15-year sentence; the prosecution asked for the minimum sentence in this case.

Woods also entered into a Kennedy plea, which allows a defendant to accept punishment for a crime without having to admit guilt.

Woods, appearing virtually from South Central Regional Jail on Thursday, declined to make a statement to the court.

Kanawha Assistant Prosecuting Attorney J.C. MacCallum said he had been in contact with the mother of Starina Woods, 34, who said she also did not want to address the court.

The Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation will determine Woods’ exact sentence, Kaufman said. Woods has been incarcerated for about 18 months since police arrested him in May 2019 and charged him with murdering Starina Woods. He will get credit for time served.

Woods’ sentence comes nearly four years and nine months since Starina Woods was last seen.

On March 9, 2016, the couple moved to a house on Lance Drive, in Charleston, and they got into a “heated altercation” the next day, according to police.

Woods never reported his wife missing or tried to contact her after her disappearance, according to search warrants cited in previous reports. He told police he believed Starina Woods had stolen $29,000 from him and had run off to Ecuador after a violent altercation between them on March 10.

Police found no record of Starina Woods crossing the border and no record of a $29,000 withdrawal, according to previous reports.

On March 10, 2016, the Woods’ mobile phones traveled to an area near Mount Nebo and Mount Lookout, according to search warrants police executed in 2016.

Police later found a “significant amount of blood” on the front door, stairs and living room of the Woods’ home, and “signs of an attempted cleaning of blood.” A DNA sample taken from Starina Woods’ mother returned a match to the blood in the house, which the couple had lived in for less than a week.

Reach Joe Severino at, 304-348-4814 or follow @jj_severino on Twitter.

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