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Two convicted in fatal abduction, shooting plot

Two convicted in fatal abduction, shooting plot

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A twisted abduction plot in Wise County, Virginia, that left multiple people shot and one dead resulted in convictions for two others, authorities said Tuesday.

Jarrod Ray Hash, 40, and Marsahe Noell Absher, 20, both of Norton, pleaded no contest Tuesday and were each sentenced in Wise County Circuit Court. Hash had been scheduled for trial Tuesday, and Absher’s case was scheduled to go to trial today.

Hash was convicted of aggravated malicious wounding and felony reckless handling of a firearm resulting in serious injury. The judge sentenced Hash to 25 years in prison with 21 years suspended. He will be required to complete 20 years of probation, according to Wise County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp.

Absher was convicted of abduction, conspiracy to abduct and conspiracy to commit aggravated malicious wounding. She was sentenced to 20 years with 16 years suspended. She also will serve 20 years of probation.

At some point on Feb. 2 or early Feb. 3, multiple law enforcement agencies responded to a fatal shooting in the Stephens community near the town of Wise. Officers said they found Absher, who was shot in the back, in a car parked in a cemetery on Limestone Road behind the Stephens Chapel Freewill Baptist Church.

Another person, Christopher Dale Stevens, 39, of Norton, was found dead near Absher’s car with multiple gunshot wounds. A third person, William Mattias Mills, 35, of Coeburn, was found in the woods nearby with multiple gunshot wounds.

Officers eventually learned that Absher used deception to abduct Mills, Slemp said. The woman drove him to the church cemetery with a plan that Stevens — who died — and Hash would confront and attack him. There, Slemp said someone opened Absher’s vehicle door and began shooting at Mills.

Hash later admitted that he shot Mills multiple times. Mills survived the shooting, but Stevens died, Slemp said.

Although a death occurred, no one was charged with murder or manslaughter, due to state law.

“Unfortunately, Virginia law does not allow us to seek murder or manslaughter charges in this case,” Slemp said. “Here, the evidence shows that Absher, Hash and Stevens conspired to attack another individual and that criminal conspiracy resulted in the death of one of the co-conspirators. Under the law of our commonwealth, an individual cannot be convicted of accidentally killing any co-conspirator of an ongoing illegal act or scheme.”

A motive for the case has never been released.

Hash and Absher remain in the custody of the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail at Duffield and are awaiting transfer to the Virginia Department of Corrections. 

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