CRAIG COUNTY - A 21-year-old woman was sentenced to life in prison Friday for the murder of an 83-year-old; she won't be eligible for parole until she is in her 80s.
Chelsea M. Raulston, 21, had been convicted of first-degree murder of Velma Bennett, 83, who was beaten to death with a pipe. Raulston and Charlee Ray Adams, 23, were charged in the death. Raulston also was sentenced to 30 years for robbery as the two were accused of stealing some of Bennett's belongings during the crime. The sentences are to run concurrently.
Raulston will not be eligible for parole for 60 years when she herself is in her 80s.In court records, Raulston told the investigator she and her co-defendant, Adams, plotted to murder Velma and take her money.
According to court records, Raulston told investigators that she and Adams first planned to drown the woman, who had invited them to stay with her. She said eventually the plan changed to use a metal pipe because Raulston was able to swing it.
The records also show that Raulston enjoyed bullying people and has continually been involved in that kind of activity.
Craig County prosecutor Tony Evans says that in 12 years of cases he has never seen an investigator recommend the maximum sentence but in this case it was the recommendation.
In court, Evans said, "Raulston showed no mercy that night; she deserves no mercy today."
About a dozen of Bennett's friends were in court for the sentencing and her daughters wanted people to know that she was kind-hearted, energetic, and loved animals. They said she tried to help those around her and will be deeply missed.
Bennett had given the two a place to stay and fed them for more than two weeks. She was trying to find them a new place to stay when she was murdered in August.
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