CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Detroit man has pleaded guilty to a lesser offense of second-degree murder in connection with the Oct. 2021 shooting deaths of two Charleston women.

Marquis Goodman (WVRJA)

Marquis Goodman, 24, was initially charged with first degree murder, but entered a guilty plea to two counts of second-degree murder during a Tuesday morning hearing before Kanawha County Circuit Judge Kenneth Ballard.

Kanawha County Assistant Prosecutor George Sitler said Goodman admitted to shooting Kytiana Belcher, 22, and Bria White, 26, both of Charleston, on the city’s West Side on Oct. 8, 2021.

“He claimed that he did what he did because he had to do it. He doesn’t ever clearly come out and say I shot these women, but in the context, it’s clear. He’s admitting he shot both of them.” Sitler told the judge.

White’s body was found on Hunt Avenue after she was shot multiple times. Belcher’s body was found a few hours later in between houses on Grant Street. She also suffered multiple gunshot wounds, police said.

Investigators said Goodman had alleged White had set him up to be robbed, so he shot her. He said Belcher was a witness, so he shot her as well.

“In the course of the unfolding interview, he eventually claimed that he had been set up to be robbed and that Bria White had been involved in some scheme to rob him immediately before the shooting,” Sitler explained.

Goodman then fled to Detroit where he was arrested less than a week after the shooting.

Sitler said Goodman was communicating with the women days before coming to Charleston; however, a motive remains unclear.

“It appears to have been drug related,” Sitler said.

Goodman faces 10-40 years in prison on each count when he’s sentenced on April 29 at 9 a.m. He remains in the South Central Regional Jail without bail.