CHARLES TOWN – A 37-year-old Martinsburg man involved in a violent, drug-related home robbery in Ranson early last year that left a homeowner seriously injured will serve at least 32 years in prison.
Kevin Ray Fowler Jr. was sentenced last week as a habitual offender to 32 years to life for a primary role in the robbery, according to court records. He was convicted by a Jefferson County Circuit Court jury in November of burglary, first-degree robbery and felony conspiracy, and 16 counts of malicious assault.
A finding that someone has been twice convicted of serious offenses results in an automatic life in prison with possible parole after serving 15 years in prison, according to Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Harvey.
Fowler was convicted in Berkeley County of two counts of kidnapping in 2003, for which he was imprisoned until 2014. He was also convicted of failing to register as a sex offender in 2015, for grand larceny in 2016, for breaking and entering and grand larceny in 2017, and for possessing a weapon in jail in 2018.
Fowler has committed serious and violent offenses since he was 19 years old, Harvey stated in a release after Fowler’s sentencing.
“This defendant’s long history of violence committed against the citizens of the Eastern Panhandle ended Monday,” Harvey stated in a prepared comment. “He has 32 years to change his ways, if he can even make parole. I hope the victims in all his cases rest a little easier knowing he cannot hurt them anymore.”
Fowler was one of three men involved in the Jan. 23, 2020, nighttime invasion of a home in the Briar Run subdivision in Ranson.
Fowler struck the female homeowner, Veronica Marcus, with what was believed to be a pipe or a bat, according to police and prosecutors.
Marcus told police she was confronted about 11:30 p.m. inside her home by a man—who was possibly wearing a mask—who attacked her while yelling “where’s the cash?” police and court records say.
A knife was held to her throat, Marcus reported.
After telling her attacker that she had no money in her home, Marcus was barricaded in a bathroom while her residence was ransacked, police reported.
Marcus’ boyfriend, Michale Parkinson, had been held in a Maryland jail on a drug distribution charge the same day the home invasion occurred, police reported.
During the attack and robbery, an alarm system alerted police to a possible break-in at the Ranson home. Police arrived about two minutes too late to apprehend the attackers. The front door had been kicked open and a locked back door had been pried open.
Police discovered Marcus bleeding extensively from a head wound. Her blood stained her home’s foyer, bedroom and living room. She survived the attack, but she was treated at Jefferson Medical Center for numerous injuries to her head and body, police reported.
Police discovered two plastic sandwich bags nearly filled with crystal methamphetamine in the home, court documents state. A black safe, “multiple electronic devices” and $938 were also found.
Money, bank cards and jewelry were stolen from the home.
Witnesses testified during Fowler’s trial that he returned to a house in Martinsburg to divide up with other money stolen during the robbery, according to Harvey.
Police found a “club-like weapon” in Fowler’s home when he was arrested. A credit card belonging to Marcus’ boyfriend was allegedly found in his wallet.
Marcus told police she believed she heard a second man’s voice during the attack, though she never saw a second man.
A second person involved in the crime, Adam Richardson Luke, 34, of Olympic Drive in Martinsburg, was convicted of burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary as part of a plea agreement. He was required to cooperate with prosecutors, which included testifying truthfully at Fowler’s trial.
Luke was sentenced last week to two consecutive prison terms of one to 15 years and one to five years. He was ordered to report to the Potomac Highlands Regional Jail in Augusta by last Friday.
During a police traffic stop near his Martinsburg home, Luke was allegedly found with credit cards and identification cards belonging to Marcus, according to court records. A previous police traffic stop in Virginia also allegedly discovered drug paraphernalia, a ski mask, several gloves, black pants, a camouflage sweatshirt, and various tools in his Jeep Renegade.
Ranson police and the Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force reviewed video security cameras in the Briar Run neighborhood that allegedly recorded a Jeep Renegade stopping at Marcus’ home at the time of the invasion. Cameras reportedly captured the Jeep arriving and leaving Marcus’ home.
Luke allegedly told Virginia police that he was a heroin user, court papers state.
He later told police that he and another man named “Boo”—whom police identified as Fowler—were involved with the home robbery.
Darnell Keith Carey, 42, of Kearneysville, who went to Marcus’ home with Fowler and Luke during the robbery, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery and was convicted March 22. He was sentenced to a prison term of not less than one year and not more than five years.
Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge David Hammer has asked state prison officials to keep Luke, Carey, Fowler and Parkinson in separate facilities during their incarcerations.
Parkinson, 36, is held at the Eastern Regional Jail in Martinsburg on federal drug charges related to methamphetamine found in Marcus’ home.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys Adam Ward and Greg Jones and investigated by Ranson officers Matthew Custer, Glenna Hosby-Brown and Bradley Meacham. The Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force also assisted the investigation.