A criminal is currently being held in a county jail in Virginia and may be facing the death penalty, however, the hearing has been delayed according to the Blue Field Daily Telegraph. Shaun Matthew Wakefield, 32, who is a resident of Tazewell, was taken into custody by officials where he was charged with first-degree murder. According to police reports, Wakefield is responsible for the death of Danielle Pruett, 29.

Although Wakefield is charged with murder, it is uncertain as to whether he will receive life in jail or the death penalty.

On March 17, Pruett was reported missing, and criminal defense lawyers in Alexandria, Virginia note that “her body was found March 18th along Route 720 near Bluefield, Va.” Her car was first located along the Governor G.C. Perry Highway, and the autopsy performed revealed she died from “blunt force trauma.” While the case has yet to reach a verdict, it is evident the defense attorneys in Virginia representing Wakefield are working very hard to plead his side of the story.

Alexandria, Virginia criminal defense attorneys point out that this isn’t Wakefield’s first encounter with law enforcement and it isn’t his first time behind prison bars. The Blue Field Daily Telegraph highlights some of the past charges Wakefield received which include:

  • Felony charge of larceny.
  • Charged with altering a drug screen on March 18th.
  • Burglary, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and drug charges.

When the incident occurred, Wakefield was on probation for charges held against him in Alexandria, VA and out on bond for a larceny charge. Criminal defense lawyers also point out that Pruett and Wakefield had been acquainted with one another prior to the incident, however, there is no clear motive as to what would cause him to take her life.

Wakefield is currently facing life in prison, although his defense lawyers were able to get a continuance for his case.

Now, Wakefield is facing life in prison and currently has no bond available. Although it isn’t clear whether the state will elect to sentence Wakefield to the death penalty, it is a possibility. His Virginia defense lawyers requested that the hearing be postponed while they await receipt of surveillance videos from Walmart and Community Action. The results from the lab test had still not been received which prompted the judge to allow for a continuance.

Alexandria defense attorneys also point out that the lawyers representing Wakefield even had requested he be moved to a regional jail in Abingdon, Virginia where they could see and speak with their client more frequently. Rather than being sentenced right away, it seems as though Wakefield and his legal representatives have been given more time to gather their evidence.

Because Wakefield had a defense lawyer working alongside of him, he now has more time to acquire evidence for his case.

The preliminary hearing occurred this past Friday so it may take a few weeks before the courts are presented with the defense’s evidence. But, in any sort of criminal case, it is clear that having a criminal defense law firm working behind you is crucial. Had Wakefield not obtained an attorney to represent him with all the charges he currently had on record, there is an increased chance his case would not have been provided a continuance.

Criminal defense lawyers in Alexandria, Virginia, and anywhere for that matter, are crucial to all criminal cases no matter how large or small they may be.