CHARLESTON, W.Va. — An emotional sentencing in Kanawha County Tuesday as it was determined that a man will spend 15 years in prison for stabbing his fiancé to death at a Charleston home three years ago.

Kanawha County Circuit Judge Dave Hardy handed down the maximum sentence to Michael Fleming Junior following the May 2021 stabbing death of Virginia Bradford at a home on Sunset Drive.

Fleming, originally charged with first-degree murder, had gotten his charges reduced to voluntary manslaughter.

In addition to 15 years in prison, Hardy decided Fleming have to pay $1 million in restitution to Bradford’s family.

Her family was in court Tuesday for Fleming’s sentencing. Four of the family members gave their victim impact statements, which got very emotional as they reflected back on the details leading up to the murder and the devastation that Bradford’s death leaves behind.

One of the victims, Sarah Mahajan, Virginia’s sister, said they were not only very close in age but were also best friends, and her death leaves behind a devastating impact on all of them.

“A family was broken instantly and I witnessed pain in the eyes of my family that I will never forget,” Mahajan said reading her tearful statement to the court. “And each day would bring new pain and suffering as more tragic details of Virginias’ murder was investigated.”

Fleming had previously admitted that he and Bradford got into an argument on May 12, 2021 at the Sunset Drive home. He said the fight was over giving their infant son Adderall which she had wanted but he did not.

The argument proceeded to get very heated when Fleming produced a hunting knife from the bottom of a diaper bag. Fleming had said that Bradford tried to grab the knife from him and while they were wrestling with it, she stabbed the knife into his hand.

This led to Fleming taking the knife and stabbing Bradford in the neck.

Kanawha County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Kenneth Bannon said that Fleming admitted to stabbing Bradford once in the neck but autopsy reports reveal that he had stabbed her a second time.

Bannon said Fleming also admitted that their infant son was in the room at the time the incident was playing out, and he said that Fleming said he rendered aid to Virginia before calling 911. However, Bannon added that court evidence showed that Fleming treated his own wounds first and would not have had time to immediately call 911in the few minutes from when first responders actually arrived.

Bannon said the case delivers a harsh example of the realities of domestic violence outcomes and that it’s hard to ever achieve justice in these kinds of situations.

“This is a very personal killing, stabbings are very personal killings of an intimate partner, and to be clear there is no just outcome, because there is no way to restore this family what has been taken from them,” Bannon said.

Fleming expressed remorse in court Tuesday, apologizing to Bradford’s family and admitting that he had never displayed an outbreak of violence in any capacity before. Bannon said that Fleming’s records back that up as he has no history of offenses before this.

“I understand that in this situation I should have responded differently to her pulling the knife on me,” Fleming said in court Tuesday. “But, there is nothing I can do about this now and I understand that I have to accept responsibility, I apologize to everyone.”

Bradford’s aunt, Anne Bostic, her mother, Beth Mahoney and her daughter all got up and presented their victim impact statements Tuesday as well.

Bradford’s daughter, who was 11 at the time her mother was murdered is now 14. She gave a very emotional testimony.

Bradford also leaves behind two other children– a 17 year old boy and a 3 year old boy who was the infant present with his parents during the time of his mother’s murder.

Bradford’s aunt, Anne Bostic said as a certified psychiatric provider, she is deeply concerned of the traumatic impact this is having on the children. She said while Bradford’s youngest son was a baby at the time he witnessed the murder, she fears how he will eventually handle the acceptance of it.

“We have no idea the kind of impact he is going to experience in his lifetime because he has been traumatized by witnessing his mother’s death,” Bostic said.

Bostic said her and her family were hoping that Fleming would get a harsher sentencing than he did due to not only taking her niece’s life, but the trauma that he put them all through.

“Fifteen years could never get justice to what happened to my niece and to her three children who will be traumatized throughout their entire lives,” she said.

However, she said they are at least satisficed that he got the maximum for what the plea bargain allowed.

Bradford’s mother, Beth Mahoney said she will always remember her daughter as the positive person that she was.

“My daughter was vibrant, she was happy, she was a wonderful mother, she loved her children more than anything,” Mahoney said.

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