GRAFTON, W.Va. – A judge sentenced a man Wednesday to life in prison without mercy for shooting and killing his wife in their home on New Year’s Eve in 2017.

John Hess

John Hess fatally shot his wife in their home on High Street in Flemington on December 31, 2017. When deputies arrived at the home the night of the murder, they observed Hess’ wife, Abigail Hess, dead in her bed. Deputies said they also observed a loaded shotgun, along with an empty shotgun shell, close to the bed.

Hess received his sentence of life without mercy on a charge of first-degree murder Wednesday morning in Taylor County Circuit Court, more than two years after he fatally shot his wife.

Taylor County Sheriff Terry Austin said that in spite of this outcome, this is a difficult situation for all involved.

“It’s not an end for the families. They will suffer for years. The child that lost her mother… it’s just sad, but the good thing is this person is behind bars. He will spend the rest of his life there,” Sheriff Austin said.

Hess’ sentence of “no mercy” means he will not be eligible for parole.