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W.Va. man pleads guilty to 2nd-degree murder

Aug. 06, 2013 @ 01:52 PM

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — A man has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the slaying of Harrison County man.

The Exponent-Telegram reports that 29-year-old Clayton S. Collins also pleaded guilty Tuesday to concealing a body.

A finding that Collins is a repeat offender will add five years to the murder sentence, which is up to 40 years in prison. He faces one to five years on the concealment charge. Sentencing is set for Sept. 23 in Harrison County Circuit Court.

Collins and co-defendant William B. Murray were accused of killing 20-year-old Thomas Ray “T.J.” Blankenship of West Union in 2012. Blankenship’s body was found in a shallow grave near Arden in Barbour County.

Murray is awaiting sentencing after being convicted of first-degree murder in July.

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