Former West Virginia Attorney Is Found Guilty Of Manslaughter

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

A former West Virginia attorney is found guilty of killing Benita Dixon in a Pike County car crash last year.

However, he wasn't convicted of murder, but second degree manslaughter.

Lafe Ward, Junior was convicted of killing Benita Wirleen Dixon in a car crash last year.

Witnesses say Ward ran a red light and hit Dixon's car, she later died.

Police say Ward was drunk and had prescription pills in his system.

Dixon's family say he committed murder.

Ward's attorneys admitted he was at fault, but said this was just an accident, not a crime.

The jury compromised with the manslaughter verdict, saying it wasn't murder, but Ward still caused her death.

Neither side was happy with the outcome.

“They can call him on the phone and come over here and visit him every Wed. and every Sat. and they'll see him when he gets out. You know where Mr. Dixon goes and sees his wife? Over in the cemetery, read it on the death certificate!" Rick Bartley said.

“I know it's been a tough, traumatic time for all of you, especially Mr. Dixon, but it's been hard on both families. it's been anguish, really tough time,” Ward Sr. said.

Ward's father, Lafe Ward, Senior apologized to the victim's family on the stand during the penalty phase, but Benita Dixon's husband still asked the jury for a harsh sentence.

“She was a beautiful person, and I say beautiful, I mean inside and out. She was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, and she's not here,” Dixon said.

The jury recommended a ten year sentence the maximum penalty for manslaughter. Commonwealth's Attorney Rick Bartley said it's a no win situation for both families.

Ward will be sentenced march 23rd.

His family says his law license has been suspended.

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