BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — A man who shot to death 23-year-old Jalen Joe outside of the Mad Hatter Club in Beckley will spend 40 years in prison.
Ramon Edwards III fired multiple shots at Joe at the Second Street club in March 2019, and Joe later died of several gunshot wounds.
Police initially charged Edwards with first-degree murder and 13 counts of wanton endangerment.
In October 2022, he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, which carries a penalty of up to forty years.
Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney Benjamin Hatfield said a video taken by bystanders moments after the murder shows Edwards spitting on the victim’s body and laughing.
Joe’s family and Hatfield asked Raleigh County Circuit Court Judge Darl Poling for the maximum sentence.
The victim’s mother said her life was shattered by her son’s death and that her mother later grieved herself to death.
“My mom was 83,” said Juanita Joe, Joe’s mother. “She said she watched a lot of people go. She doesn’t think she’s going to be able to take this one. You ruined a whole lot of lives. You changed mine.”
Juanita Joe asked Poling several times for a strict sentence, pointing out the family had waited over three years for the sentencing.
Families of the victim and gunman attended church together and have social ties, according to the victim’s aunt.