Man sentenced in man's death in Putnam County

PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A man charged in connection with a man's death in Putnam County was sentenced Thursday to two to 10 years in prison, county Prosecutor Mark Sorsaia said.

Russell Lewis was sentenced to serve two to 10 years in prison in connection with Timothy Pearson's death in Putnam County, West Virginia. The pair got into a fight that took a turn for the worse in September of 2018.

Russell Lewis was originally charged with murder in the death of Timothy Pierson. He was sentenced on an unlawful assault charge.

Pierson died in September 2018 when investigators say Lewis got into a fight with his wife at his home in Bancroft.

Lewis left the home and, when he returned, found Pierson hiding in his garage. Investigators say the men got into a fight, and Pierson died from his injuries.

In court, Lewis was apologetic, saying he wish he could change the past.

"I'm sorry for your son," Lewis said to Pearson's family.

But those words did not mean anything to Michelle Pearson, Timothy's sister. She said she cried the entire four-hour dive from Pittsburgh.

"I miss him so much, I cry a lot," she said.

She also said the majority of her family lives in West Virginia, so dealing with her big brother's death has been especially hard.

"As for the sentence today, I understand why the victim’s family would be disappointed," Sorsaia said. "Obviously it’s not what we wanted, but juries make decisions. That’s what they’re for. We present the evidence, and it's the jury's job to decide, and we respect that process."

A family friend took to the stand in support of Russell, saying he still loves and supports him.

But Sandra Brewer, another one of Pearson's sisters, said she is afraid Lewis will hurt someone else when he is released.

As he was being escorted out of the courtroom, Lewis told his mother he loved her.

Timothy's family says they know he is in a better place.

One of Lewis's family members, who is a juvenile, is also charged in the case. Officials say that case is pending and has not gone to trial yet.

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