Judge sentences Kanawha County man to 15 years for 2021 murder

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Kanawha County man will spend 15 years behind bars for killing another man last year in Charleston.

Beau Hodge

Beau Hodge, 31, of Clendenin, was sentenced Monday by Kanawha County Circuit Judge Tera Salango. Hodge pleaded guilty in March to second degree murder in connection with the shooting death of C.J. Thaxton, 29, of Charleston.

In April 2021, Thaxton was shot and killed during a fight in an alley near Stuart Street in Charleston. Hodge pulled out a gun, fired one shot and took off in a Ford F-250 truck. Hodge was arrested several hours later after he crashed the truck in Elkview.

The two men knew each other.

During a virtual hearing Monday, Thaxton’s grandmother Linda Thaxton told the court the loss has been heartbreaking.

“This is by far the hardest death I’ve ever had to get over,” she said. “This was so senseless.”

Hodge apologized to the family and said he never meant to cause harm.

“This was not intentionally done. I am sorry for what occurred that day. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about it and I cry almost daily. I hope they find it in their hearts to forgive me,” he said.

But Linda Thaxton responded and told Hodge she felt there was a clear motive behind his actions.

“I feel like it was criminally intent. It was no accident, Beau, you know it was no accident” she said.

Thaxton said she raised her grandson since he was five years old. She said it pains her that she’ll never be able to see him again.

“I can never hold him again. He’ll never give me another hug. He’ll never say ‘I love you, granny.’ He’ll never tell his daughter that he loves her,” she said.

Thaxton was shot in the chest and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The 15 year sentence was not enough for Thaxton’s grandmother. She told Hodge that he will still be young enough to live a successful life after he’s released from prison.

“You’ll be able to have a productive life. Your family and your children can come and see you in prison if you wanted to and write you letters. Do we get that? No,” she said. “We got a six foot hole. That’s all we got and memories.”

The 15 year sentence was previously agreed upon by both the defense and the state. The judge said Hodge will get credit for time served.