19-year-old Abbeville man pled guilty to manslaughter
District Attorney Mike Harson’s office announces that on Tuesday in Abbeville, Walter August, age 19, of Abbeville pled guilty to manslaughter for a sentence of 30 years at hard labor for the April 26, 2013 killing of Javonte “Von” Charles.
Assistant District Attorney Stanton Hardee prosecuted the case and was pleased with the guilty plea because this was the sentence Charles’ mother wanted if August was willing to plead guilty. “This sentence takes Mr. August off the streets for at least 25 and a half years. Charles who was age 19 at the time of his death knew August well because they grew up together. August was 18 years old at the time of the shooting. Charles’ mother knew that jury trials can be unpredictable so she agreed to allow Mr. August to plead guilty to a reduced charge of Manslaughter. August was indicted for second degree murder of Javonte Charles and obstruction of justice for disposing of the firearm used in the murder. August pled guilty to the reduced charge of manslaughter to avoid facing a life sentence if convicted on the second degree murder charge; the obstruction of justice charge was dismissed as part of the plea agreement. Charles’ mother wanted a sentence that would take August off the streets for awhile, so upon his release he would be a more mature thinking man having hopefully learned a lesson.
August shot Charles near King’s Mart on the corner of Martin Luther King and Schlessinger in Abbeville. According to statements of witnesses, a week or more before the killing, August beat up Charles over a bicycle. Charles allegedly brandished a firearm in front of August a few days after the fight. A couple of nights later, August shot and killed Charles. August told detectives that he and Charles were involved in the sale of illegal narcotics.
Hardee said, “The reason August was brought to justice was because eye witnesses had the courage to tell Abbeville Police the truth and identify August as the shooter. Abbeville Police did a great job in this case and can solve other homicides but cannot do it without courageous eye witnesses.”