UPDATE: Death of Sylvia Washington settled, defendant pleads guilty to voluntary manslaughter

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Tuesday, September 7, 2021 8:00 p.m. UPDATE: BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — The death of an elderly Raleigh County woman was settled in court Tuesday, September 7, 2021.

Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney Benjamin Hatfield confirmed Jessica Lunceford pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter. Lunceford was sentenced to the maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

The case follows an investigation into the death of Sylvia Washington. Lunceford was her caretaker at the time of her death.


Original Story: BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Jessica Lunceford was back in court on Monday, May 17, 2021 for a bond revocation hearing. Lunceford was arrested in 2019 and charged with first degree murder for the death of an elderly woman.

Lunceford is accused of killing Sylvia Washington at a home in Beckley in 2014. Detectives said Washington died from blunt force trauma to the head. Investigators said they also found evidence she had been strangled. Lunceford was Washington’s caretaker at the time.

Judge Kirkpatrick approved Lunceford’s bond revocation at Monday’s hearing. She was sent back to jail for not paying home confinement fees. Lunceford has been ordered to pay $2,000 in fees. She has been on home confinement since 2019.

“Since December of 2019, she’s only made two payments on her home confinement fees. She now owes in an excess of $2,000,” Ben Hatfield, Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney, said.

Lunceford’s trial is set for July 6, 2021.  

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