Man sentenced in Beckley for his role in death of another inmate at SRJ

Published: Sep. 28, 2023 at 4:32 PM EDT
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BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) - A man charged for his role in the death of another inmate at Southern Regional Jail has pleaded guilty by way of an information to Second Degree Murder.

Isaiah McBride was also sentenced on the charge in Raleigh County Circuit Court on Thursday to 15 years in prison.

Prosecuting Attorney Ben Hatfield said the inmate is cooperating with their prosecution against the main culprit in the incident that led to Douglas Cunningham’s death, Lucas Wagnar.

While the Stipulation of Facts show McBride assaulted Cunninham, it was Wagnar who jumped from the top bunk onto Cunninham’s chest and repeatedly kicked the elderly inmate.

Wagnar was just indicted by a Raleigh County Grand Jury in the case for First Degree Murder, Offense by an Inmate Resulting in Death, and Offense by an Inmate. Hatfield said the penalty for Offense by an Inmate Resulting in Death actually carries a stiffer sentence than First Degree Murder because there is no option for Mercy at sentencing.

“The most culpable character in the murder of Douglas Cunningham was Lucas Wagnar. Today was a necessary plea to obtain that testimonial evidence from McBride, his co-conspirator, which will really help the state’s case moving forward on Wagnar.”

Hatfield said the inmate’s charges are part of a broader effort to get crime under control at Southern Regional Jail and hold inmates who break the law there accountable.

Several other inmates were also indicted as part of the September Grand Jury on the Offense by an Inmate charge, which holds no option for bond while being prosecuted. Hatfield said inmates found guilty of the charge also face a tougher penalty at sentencing, where there is no option to have the sentences on the charges run concurrently.

Wagnar is set to be arraigned on the new indictments on Wednesday, October 4th. He has since been moved from Southern Regional Jail to South West Regional Jail.