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Woman pleads guilty to upkeep of drug house

Oct. 23, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Prosecutors secured a second conviction Tuesday in connection with charges stemming from a double homicide nearly a year ago in Huntington.

Charity Dawn Cornell, 36, pleaded guilty to maintaining a known drug house at 1939 Foster Ave. That's where two men were fatally shot Nov. 6, 2012, during what investigators have described as a heroin-related robbery.

Cabell Circuit Judge Paul T. Farrell sentenced Cornell to a year of probation, suspending the maximum, 1-year jail sentence for the misdemeanor charge.

Defense attorney Ray Nolan confirmed the plea and punishment, and also stressed Cornell had no role in the shooting deaths of Darrell Fugua, 22, and DeVante Penn, 17, both of Detroit. He said the plea accurately reflects her extent of involvement, explaining she had allowed both victims to stay at the residence.

Rocky Hudson Williams, 20, of Huntington, pleaded guilty Monday to first-degree robbery and no contest to second-degree murder. He received a 10-year prison sentence for robbery with prosecutors recommending another 40 years at sentencing for the murder charge in December.

It's anticipated Williams and Cornell will testify against the remaining co-defendant in the murder case, Thomas Maurice White, said assistant prosecutor Sharon Frazier. Williams told the court Monday he had joined White in going to the residence with a plan to rob the Detroit men of drugs and money.

White, 22, faces two counts of murder. A trial date could be set in coming days.

Cornell has since moved out of state in an attempt to put her life back together, Nolan said. She had been leasing the Foster Avenue residence at the time.

Follow Curtis Johnson at Facebook.com/curtisjohnsonHD and via Twitter @curtisjohnsonHD.

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