Kenneth Carter Staples, 44, was sentenced in the Alleghany County Circuit Court
on January 9, 2023, to life in the penitentiary suspended after serving an active
sentence of 35 years for a 2020 Clifton Forge murder. Following his release from
the penitentiary, Staples will be placed on supervised probation for five years after
which he will be on unsupervised probation for the remainder of his life sentence.
Staples was found guilty of first-degree murder for the death of William Brandon
Wright, 41, of Clifton Forge.
At an earlier hearing on September 22, 2022, Staples pled no contest to first-degree
murder after beating Wright to death on April 26, 2020, at Wright’s home in Clifton
Forge. An autopsy report listed Wright’s cause of death to be blunt force injuries
of the head. Alleghany County Commonwealth’s Attorney, Ann Gardner
summarized the evidence against Staples for the court at the September hearing.
According to the summary, the Clifton Forge Police Department discovered
Wright’s body while conducting a well-being check at his home on Jefferson
Avenue the afternoon of April 27, 2020. After attempting to clean up the crime
scene, Staples stole Wright’s truck and fled the area. A collaborative investigation
by the Clifton Forge Police Department and the Virginia State Police tracked
Staples to Georgia where he was ultimately apprehended by the Troup County
Sheriff’s Office. The Alleghany County Sheriff’s Office and the Botetourt County
Sheriff’s Office also assisted in the investigation. At the sentencing hearing,
Gardner commended the law enforcement agencies for their good police work.
Wright’s family members traveled to Covington from Alabama to attend Staples’
sentencing hearing where they delivered emotional victim impact testimony. After
hearing evidence and argument from both sides, Judge Edward K. Stein sentenced
Staples to an active sentence of incarceration at the high end of the Virginia
Sentencing Guidelines recommendation.