Ervin Faces Max Sentence in Preston County Murder - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Ervin Faces Max Sentence in Preston County Murder

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After more than a week of testimony, a Preston County jury convicted Denny Ervin of first degree murder and wanton endangerment in the shooting death of Leslie Layman.

The verdict seemed to bring relief to the families of both Layman and Ervin.

Layman's family did not wish to speak to the media following the verdict, but Ervin's family members said "justice was served" outside of the courthouse Thursday morning.

Prosecutors claimed Ervin had a rocky relationship with Layman for a few years before the final fight just days before her death. Jurors heard more than a dozen threatening messages Ervin left at Layman's home in early May.

The night of May 8, 2012, prosecutors allege Ervin waited in the woods outside of Layman's home in Independence and shot her in the back and shoulder with a .22 caliber revolver.

Ervin's attorney claimed self-defense because Layman was carrying a shotgun with her to check on the chickens they maintained that night, which her family testified was somewhat unusual. Forensic experts testified one shot was fired from the gun, but could not determine whether Leslie fired that shot.

Two of Layman's daughters were in their home near the site of the murder that night. Cecilia Layman, 14, told jurors she heard the shots and her mother cry out for help and say "I love you."

The jury did not recommend mercy for Ervin, which means he will face a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. A judge will formally sentence Ervin at 9:30 a.m. on May 30.