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Putnam man gets life for killing girlfriend over interrupted sleep

WINFIELD, W.Va. -- Eric Brian Pauley told a Putnam County Circuit Court judge on Friday that he shot and killed his girlfriend last year because she interrupted his sleep.

"She woke me up.  . . . It made me mad she woke me up like that in the middle of the night," Pauley, 50, of Winfield, told Circuit Judge Phillip Stowers before he pleaded guilty to first-degree murder.

Stowers questioned Pauley's state of mind and asked if the couple had been arguing when he shot Debra Rosiek, 52, at their trailer in Winfield in September 2011.

"She come in, flipped the light on and started hollering," said Pauley, who noted that the couple normally got along and hadn't been arguing earlier that night.

Pauley told the judge he grabbed his pistol that was beside the bed and underneath a stack of folded clean clothes and shot his girlfriend of four years.

After waiving a pretrial sentence investigation, Stowers accepted the plea arrangement offered by prosecutors of life in prison with mercy. Pauley already has served 378 days and will be eligible for parole after 15 years.

Pauley knocked on the door of the Putnam County Sheriff's Department at about 10 p.m. on Sept. 17, 2011, and told a deputy that he'd shot his girlfriend and believed she was dead.

At the time, Detective Shawn Johnson said Pauley gave police a key to his home, and a deputy was then dispatched to Pauley's residence in the Winfield Mobile Home Village where Rosiek was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds to the chest.

Assistant Prosecutor Larry Frye told the judge his office offered Pauley mercy based on his confession and cooperation with police after the incident.

Rosiek's brother, Brad Booth, 46, of Ohio, spoke before Pauley was sentenced.

"I never thought in my mind once about mercy for you, but mercy for my niece," Booth said, referring to Rosiek's daughter, Misty Hall. "Just so she doesn't have to go through a trial."

Pauley's 21-year-old daughter, Brittany, sat on the edge of her seat, leaning in close behind her father during the hearing, and said, "I love you, Dad," before his plea.

Outside the judicial building before the hearing, Hall, 33, of Oak Hill confronted Brittany Pauley, and court officials separated the two families before and after the hearing.

"It must be nice to have her parent," Hall said through tears. "It's not fair she'll still be able to write him letters and visit him."

Reach Kate White at kate.white@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.


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