UPDATE 5/14/13 @ 1:20 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The Huntington man charged with killing another man with a cinder block has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor involuntary manslaughter.
25-year-old Shane McCaffrey entered the plea to the reduced charge during a hearing in Cabell County Circuit Court Tuesday morning.
Police said in August, McCaffrey and his brother got into what was described as drunken brawl at a home on Adams Avenue. That's when police said their longtime friend, Howard LeMaster, 49, tried to jump in a break up the fight. During the scuffle, LeMaster was hit in the head with a concrete block, allegedly thrown by McCaffrey.
At the time of the incident, McCaffrey was arrested and charged with malicious wounding. That charge was increased to murder when LeMaster died
In January, a Cabell County Grand Jury reduced the murder charge to voluntary manslaughter.
McCaffrey will be sentenced on the involuntary manslaughter plea next Tuesday. He is expected to receive a one-year jail sentence.
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Police said in August, 25-year-old Shane McCaffrey and his brother got into what was described as a drunken brawl at a home on Adams Avenue. That's when police said their longtime friend, Howard LeMaster, 49, tried to jump in a break up the fight. During the scuffle, LeMaster was hit in the head with a concrete block allegedly thrown by McCaffrey.
At the time of the incident, McCaffrey was arrested charged with malicious wounding. That charged was increased to murder when LeMaster died.
On Wednesday, a Cabell County Grand Jury indicted McCaffrey for voluntary manslaughter in the connection with LeMaster’s death.
LeMaster is being arraigned on the reduced charge Thursday morning.
While the defendant says he was trying to protect himself, the prosecution says there were other options.
“So, there were four bottles of 80-proof alcohol being consumed by the group?” the defense attorney asked during a hearing in Cabell County Magistrate Court.
“Yes,” replied Patrick McCaffrey, who is defendant Shane McCaffrey’s brother.
Testimony shows a lot of alcohol was consumed at the Aug. 20 get-together among family and friends.
“Mr. (Shane) McCaffrey said he had drank about half a pint of whiskey,” Huntington Police Detective Lt. John Williams said.
But, what is up for debate is whether Howard LeMaster had to die. Police say it all started when defendant Shane McCaffrey showed up at a gathering with Lemaster, Patrick McCaffrey and Shane McCaffrey’s wife, Amanda. The group had already been drinking.
“He knew he was going into a place where he had altercations with his brother before,” Williams said. “He knew he was drinking. He could have left. The gate was open. He wasn't impeded.”
The brothers got into a drunken brawl -- fists flying. That's when their longtime friend, LeMaster, got involved -- trying to break up the fight.
“He had the sledgehammer up,” Amanda said.
“Was there anything to prevent the defendant from running prior to throwing the brick?” the assistant prosecutor asked.
“He could have just walked away instead of throwing the brick,” Patrick said.
“Shane said he shuffled back and told Howard twice not to come near him. He did and Shane threw rock, cinderblock, rock at him and struck him in the side of the head,” Williams said.
A grand jury ultimately will decide intent versus reality.
McCaffrey originally was charged with malicious wounding in the attack until LeMaster later died -- upgrading the charge to murder.
Huntington Police say that Shane McCaffrey, 25, of Huntington was fighting with another man outside Howard LeMaster's home along Adams Avenue last Monday night. Police say LeMaster told McCaffrey to leave and he refused. When LeMaster stepped in to break up the fight, that's when police say McCaffrey picked up a cinder block and threw it at LeMaster, hitting him in the head.
LeMaster, 49, died Saturday morning at a Huntington Hospital.
Lt. John Williams says autopsy results show that Lemaster died from the injury.
McCaffrey was arrested a short time after the incident and originally charged with malicious wounding. That charge was dropped as the upgraded murder charge was filed.
McCaffrey remains in the Western Regional Jail..
Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.
Huntington Police tell WSAZ.com Shane McCaffrey, 25, of Huntington, threw a cinder block at Howard LeMaster during a scuffle Monday. McCaffrey was arrested and originally charged with malicious wounding.
Police say LeMaster, 49, died just after 11 a.m. Saturday at the hospital as a result of his injuries.
The prosecutor plans on dismissing the malicious wounding charge on Monday and filing murder charges.
McCaffrey remains in jail.
Keep clicking WSAZ.com for updates.
Hospital officials tell WSAZ.com Howard LeMaster died Saturday morning.
Huntington Police say the incident happened Monday night at a home along Adams Avenue.
Officers say Shane McCaffrey, 25, of Huntington, threw a cinder block at LeMaster during a scuffle. He was arrested and charged with malicious wounding.
LeMaster, who's 49 years old, was originally in stable condition but since took a deadly turn.
No word yet if McCaffrey will face any other charges.
Keep clicking WSAZ.com for the latest information.
Huntington Police say the incident happened at a residence in the 200-block of Adams Avenue about 11 p.m. Monday.
Police say the victim, a 49-year-old man from Huntington, was listed in stable condition Tuesday at a Huntington hospital.
The suspect was located a short time later in 300-block of 5th Avenue.
Police arrested and charged Shane McCaffrey, 25, of Huntington, with malicious wounding.
He is being held in the Western Regional Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.
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