MURDER USA: JUDGE SENTENCED ROBERT MARSHALL CORNELIUS TO 20 YEARS IN PRISON, 10 YEARS SUSPENDED FOR SHOOTING GRANDMA TO DEATH; caught at the airport with cash, jewels, passport and stolen credit cards

Breaking News Court News Murder USA Plea Deals Police Beat Wanted by Police
Ruth Ann Knave of Tall Timbers Md. murdered in Salem Va. on Sept. 18, 2017, her grandson was nabbed at Richmond airport as he fled with her car, and had stolen her credit cards, cash and had a passport.
Cabin rental on Doe Hill Road near McDowell Va. where the body of slain Ruth Ann Knave was found near McDowell, Va.

MURDER USA: JUDGE SENTENCED ROBERT MARSHALL CORNELIUS TO 20 YEARS IN PRISON, 10 YEARS SUSPENDED FOR SHOOTING GRANDMA TO DEATH; caught at the airport with cash, jewels, passport and stolen credit cards

Robert Marshall Cornelius pleaded guilty to
killing his grandmother

SENTENCE:
TWENTY YEARS IN PRISON WITH TEN YEARS SUSPENDED

Judge John E. Wetsel Jr. questioned Cornelius to ascertain he understood the implications of his guilty plea and found that he did. Commonwealth special prosecutor Charles Simmons then presented the judge with a summary of the evidence the prosecution would have provided, and the Judge found it sufficient to warrant accepting the guilty plea.

Sentencing had been scheduled for Dec. 20, 2018, but was continued until the next month. Court records show that on Jan. 17, 2019, Judge Wetsel sentenced Robert Marshall Cornelius to twenty years in prison with ten years suspended and five years’ probation upon his release.  Two post-trial motions filed by the defense on April 13, 2020, and on May 5, 2020, were denied by the court. Attorney Tate Love, of Staunton, Va., represented Robert Marshall Cornelius in arranging the guilty plea to the murder of his grandmother. The original charge of first-degree murder was amended in the plea deal to second-degree murder.

MCDOWELL, VA. – Sure, it’s hard to believe that this kid could be a flight risk pending sentencing in December – after all, he was caught at the Airport attempting to flee Virginia after his gruesome crime of shooting his grandmother to death, robbing her and stealing her car.

THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY – ALL CRIME ALL THE TIME – Copyright 2019

Maybe his family has him chained to the furnace in the basement.

Highland County Circuit Court records reveal that a plea deal has been agreed to between the attorney representing Robert Marshall Cornelius, the prosecutor, and the Judge. THE DEAL: On Sept. 25, 2018, Cornelius entered a guilty plea to second-degree murder in the slaying of his grandmother on Sept. 17, 2017.

Cornelius was arrested on Oct. 11, 2017, and indicted as an adult on March 5, 2018, for the shooting death of Ruth Ann Knave at a cabin his parents often rented out to visitors from out of state. The cabin was located on the family farm near McDowell and his grandmother was visiting from her home in Piney Point, Maryland.

WVLS radio in West Virginia reported that the defendant’s attorney’s and the Commonwealth Attorney Special Prosecutor reached a plea agreement to amend the original charge of first-degree murder, as well as drop other felony charges related to the case. Cornelius, 15, entered an Alford plea, which is a guilty plea in which a defendant does not admit to the criminal act and asserts innocence, but admits that the evidence presented by the prosecution would be likely to persuade a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

 Judge John E. Wetsel Jr. questioned Cornelius to ascertain he understood the implications of his guilty plea and found that he did. Commonwealth special prosecutor Charles Simmons then presented the judge with a summary of the evidence the prosecution would have provided, and the Judge found it sufficient to warrant accepting the guilty plea.

Judge John E. Wetsel Jr. questioned Cornelius to ascertain he understood the implications of his guilty plea and found that he did. Commonwealth special prosecutor Charles Simmons then presented the judge with a summary of the evidence the prosecution would have provided, and the Judge found it sufficient to warrant accepting the guilty plea.

Sentencing had been scheduled for Dec. 20, 2018, but was continued until the next month. Court records show that on Jan. 17, 2019, Judge Wetsel sentenced Robert Marshall Cornelius to twenty years in prison with ten years suspended and five years’ probation upon his release.  Two post-trial motions filed by the defense on April 13, 2020, and on May 5, 2020, were denied by the court. Attorney Tate Love represented Robert Marshall Cornelius in arranging the guilty plea to the murder of his grandmother. The original charge of first-degree murder was amended in the plea deal to second-degree murder.

“He made a statement that he had accidentally shot his grandmother at his home,” the search warrant filed with the court records stated.

Pursuant to the plea arrangement, the defendant remains free on bail until sentencing.

“He made a statement that he had accidentally shot his grandmother at his home,” the search warrant filed with the court records stated.

Virginia State Police said the teen was trying to catch an undisclosed flight and was carrying two of his grandmother’s credit cards when he was apprehended by Airport Police following a lookout for the stolen car. Virginia State Police arrived at the Richmond International Airport (RIC) in Richmond, Va., where the Subaru was located in the parking lot. Cornelius was taken into custody by Richmond International Airport Police. 

According to the search warrant, which had been sealed since September of 2017, Cornelius also had a backpack with a passport, clothing, two handwritten notes on index cards, jewelry, $1,277 in cash and nearly five dollars in loose change.

Besides the murder charge, the teen, who turned 15 in February of 2018, also faced charges of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony along with two charges of credit card theft. All those charges have now been dropped as part of the plea deal.

Robert Marshall Cornelius Guilty Plea in Highland County Circuit Court, Va.

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