West Virginia woman pleads guilty to buying rifle for felon killed in shootout

A West Virginia woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to providing a firearm to a felon in the shooting death of a sheriff’s deputy and the wounding of another.

Melanie Clodfelter, 41, of Summersville, entered the plea in federal court to lying on a certification form that she was the buyer when she knew she was purchasing the semi-automatic rifle for Richie Holcomb. Clodfelter admitted giving Holcomb the rifle the day of the purchase last November.

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Clodfelter also knew that Holcomb was prohibited from possessing a firearm due to a felony unlawful wounding conviction in 2014. Holcomb gave Clodfelter money to buy the gun, U.S. Attorney Will Thompson’s office said in a news release.

Melanie Clodfelter, 41, pleaded guilty to buying a firearm for a felon killed in a shootout. Nicholas County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Edward Baker III was killed and Cpl. Joshua Ellison was wounded during the shooting

Nicholas County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Edward Baker III was killed and Cpl. Joshua Ellison was wounded after responding to a domestic disturbance in the Birch River area on June 3. Holcomb, 36, was also fatally shot.

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Clodfelter faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing was set for Feb. 16.