FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WVNS) – A Fayette County man was sentenced to 25 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter which he claims was self defense earlier today.

On April 26, 2022, Robert R. Jeffries, age 52 of Fayetteville, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter and to five years for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

On December 12, 2019, ambulances and police responded to Audrey Naylor’s home on Gatewood Road near the town of Fayetteville, West Virginia. They were called in response to an alleged accidental gunshot wound to Michael Johns, who was Ms. Naylor’s son-in-law. Johns died on the way to the hospital from a contact gunshot wound to his head.

The investigation revealed that Johns was in the living room when Jeffries, who is Ms. Naylor’s nephew, arrived around five PM. Witnesses reported that Johns and Jeffries argued about Johns’ alleged sale of Ms. Naylor’s portable generator to support his drug habit. Johns was shot while on the sofa, and the bullet from the Derringer that Jeffries brought with him went through Johns’ skull and arm and went into a pillow on the couch. Jeffries testified that he acted in self-defense and that he mistook the firearm for a tool he had left in a jacket pocket.

Jeffries was previously convicted of Third-Degree Domestic Assault in 2007. Because of the prior felony conviction, the State filed a repeat offender charge, against Jeffries. This resulted in an additional five years being added to the voluntary manslaughter sentence. The Court ordered the sentences be served consecutively for a total sentence of 25 years. Jeffries will be eligible for parole after serving six years and three months in prison. Jeffries was convicted on March 9, 2022 following a two-day jury trial.

This crime was investigated by the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department. The case was prosecuted by Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer D. Crane.