Solicitor: Gaffney man sentenced to 30 years in prison for fatally shooting wife

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GAFFNEY, SC (FOX Carolina) –

7th Circuit Solicitor Barry Barnette announced the sentencing of a Gaffney man found guilty of killing his wife following a four-day jury trial.

William Dean Pennington, 72, was found guilty of murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

The solicitor’s office said Pennington fatally shot his wife, 59-year-old Rita M. Pennington, on June 21, 2014 at the couple’s residence on Ford Road.

Pennington told investigators he was cleaning his 12-gauge shotgun when it accidentally fired and struck his wife. According to Assistant Solicitor Matt Kendall, the gunshot wound was fired at a close range and Pennington’s version of the events did not make sense.

Evidence showed that Pennington shot his wife and staged the scene to make it look like an accident, Kendall said.

According to the solicitor’s office, trial testimony revealed Pennington suspected his wife had cheated on him in the months leading up to her death. Witnesses testified that he spied on his wife at work, threatened her and attempted to pay off a security guard to spy on her.

“Mrs. Pennington’s death was a senseless tragedy,” Solicitor Barry Barnette said. “I’m fed up with the occurrence of domestic violence in Cherokee and Spartanburg counties and I’m going to do everything I can to stop it.”

Pennington will not be eligible for parole or early release.

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