by Trish Rudder
Gabriel J. Cardwell, 23, formerly of Martinsburg, was sentenced to 15 years for voluntary manslaughter on Friday, February 2 in Morgan County Circuit Court.
A local jury found Cardwell guilty of fatally stabbing a Berkeley Springs man — Scott A. Mullen, 47 — during an altercation at a party on September 5, 2022.
The case was presided over by Circuit Judge Debra McLaughlin.
Cardwell’s defense attorney, Craig Manford, suggested Cardwell was a candidate for the Anthony Center for youthful offenders instead of prison.
“If we send him to prison, he would be set back,” Manford told the judge.
Cardwell’s parents and an aunt all made pleas to Judge McLaughlin for leniency, stating that he had changed since being incarcerated the last 18 months.
When Cardwell spoke, he said he was “certainly remorseful,” to the judge. He turned to face Mullen’s family who were seated in the courtroom saying, “I am deeply, truly sorry of what happened that night.”
Mullen’s daughter Hailey was crying when she said, “My dad was a hero that night. You took him away from all of his loved ones.”
Morgan County Prosecuting Attorney, Dan James spoke with emotion.
To Manford’s suggestion that if the police had been called earlier, this would not have happened, James said “I respectfully disagree…”
He said according to a psychological evaluation of Cardwell, he was “a young man with a lot of hate.”
James said Cardwell had earlier incidents on file stating that Cardwell had “wrestled his father to the ground,” he chased his mother up the stairs and wanted to burn his parents’ house down.
James said Cardwell was obsessed with his ex-girlfriend, Brooke.
“He has not stopped reaching out to her,” James said.
James asked Judge McLaughlin for the maximum sentence of 15 years.
Judge McLaughlin said to Cardwell that he showed total reckless disregard for taking Mr. Mullen’s life.
“Brooke says Mullen saved her life,” Judge McLaughlin said.
She sentenced Cardwell to 15 years.
“The nature of this offense does not warrant anything less,” she said.