Alton Glenn Beadles, who pleaded guilty in December to the murder of Wendy Cash in January 2017, was sentenced Friday in Halifax County Circuit Court to serve 21 years in prison for the crime.

Beadles pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in connection with the shooting of Wendy Perkins Cash that occurred in northern Halifax County.

The commonwealth moved to nol pros another charge against Beadles in December for use of a firearm in commission of a felony.

Beadles, a 58-year-old Nathalie man, and the 44-year-old Cash were romantically involved, but the relationship took a deadly turn on Jan. 18, 2017 following an argument between the two, according to Halifax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tracy Martin.

Beadles was arrested following a domestic disagreement that ended with Cash being shot in back of an Epperson Trail residence.

Sheriff’s office deputies were dispatched to a reported shooting at 1034 Epperson Trail on Jan. 18, 2017, with officers finding Cash apparently deceased from a gunshot wound, according to the commonwealth’s attorney.

An autopsy later revealed Cash died from a gunshot wound to the abdomen from a .38 caliber handgun.

Beadles and Cash had dated for several months, according to Martin.

A close neighbor overheard them arguing and heard gunshots. When the neighbor went outside, she saw the defendant holding a revolver and standing over the victim, who was on her knees begging him not to shoot her, Martin said. 

Beadles told the neighbor he had “messed up” and walked into nearby woods. 

Family and friends attended the victim until emergency assistance arrived moments later.  Officers from the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia State Police searched for the defendant who ultimately emerged from the woods and was arrested.

Minutes prior to the shooting, Cash had expressed fear that Beadles would harm her, Martin said. 

Evidence presented by Martin at Friday’s sentencing hearing indicated Beadles had assaulted Cash violently in the weeks prior to her murder.

The commonwealth also presented evidence that Beadles had committed a prior domestic assault in 2010 and assault of another individual in 2014.

Evidence presented by Elizabeth Blair Trent on behalf of the defendant indicated Beadles had a history of anxiety, depression and alcohol abuse. 

During the sentencing hearing, Judge Kimberely S. White described Beadles’ history of assaults, as well as driving intoxicated convictions in 2010 and 2012, as “warning signs.” 

She sentenced Beadles to 21 years in prison with the balance of the 40-year sentence suspended, conditioned upon 40 years good behavior, active probation for three years, mental health and substance abuse treatment.

He also must pay restitution to the Virginia Victims Fund for Cash’s funeral costs.

“The commonwealth is pleased that the defendant was sentenced near the high end of his sentencing guidelines,” said Martin. “No amount of prison time for Beadles can bring Wendy back or heal the pain this family is feeling. We can only hope that the sentence brings some measure of closure to her family.”

Martin said the only agreement was for Beadles to plead to second-degree murder and to argue sentencing within the sentencing guidelines.

“I did not believe the evidence would have proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he had premeditated this murder, so second-degree murder was appropriate to the facts of the case,” explained Martin.

“In addition, Beadles had been found incompetent to stand trial.  While he was being restored to competency for more than a year, two witnesses in less than good health passed away. The commonwealth consulted closely with the family and law enforcement before amending the charge to second-degree murder and agreeing to argue within the sentencing guidelines,” Martin concluded.