BLOUNTVILLE — The final defendant in a drug-fueled, 8-year-old Kingsport double-murder case was sentenced to 41 years in prison Friday, with eligibility for parole after 30 percent of time served.
Prosecutors were originally seeking first-degree murder charges against Leslie Ware Jr., but a Sullivan County jury found him not guilty of the charges in July. His Friday sentencing in Blountville was for multiple lesser offenses, including criminally negligent homicide, facilitation of conspiracy to commit theft and robbery and conspiracy to possess cocaine.
“I’m still disappointed by the (earlier) verdict of the jury,” said Sullivan County District Attorney General Barry Staubus on Friday afternoon. “Though Ware received 41 years, he is eligible for parole, and he should be spending the rest of his life in jail.”
On Nov. 18, 2005, Jeffrin Nolan, 27, and Terrance Alexander, 21, were each shot in the back of the head at Solé candle shop, 828 Myrtle St. The men were reportedly forced to lie face down on the floor for the execution-style slayings.
Ware’s co-defendant, Jawaune Massey, was previously found guilty of first-degree murder in the case and was sentenced last year to a pair of consecutive life sentences. Prosecutors said the Solé shop was a front for a large cocaine operation headed by Nolan, who was selling narcotics cheaper than a ring involving Massey and Ware.
Staubus said 36 years of Ware’s sentence is for charges related to the murders. The other five years of his sentence is for introduction of narcotics into a penal facility, as he attempted to have former defense attorneys smuggle drugs into jail while he awaited trial.