Area man sentenced to 13 years
A Stephens City man has been sentenced to 13 years in prison in the death of man killed by a stray bullet fired by the defendant.
Eddie Alvin Debraux Sr. 48, received the sentence in Frederick County Circuit Court Monday after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter and several related charges stemming from the death Aug. 3 of James “Eddie” Trenary. The sentence includes a total of 29 years in prison, all but 13 of which were suspended.
Trenary, 64, died at his residence on Nottoway Drive in Stephens City, which is on the same street where Debraux was living at the time of the shooting.
The bullet that killed Trenary hit the victim in the stomach after passing through a vinyl siding wall and bookcase in his second floor townhouse.
The shooting arose from a confrontation between Debraux and another man, Kyle Schroeder.
Debraux had been visiting Schroeder’s home earlier in the evening when the two began arguing and Schroeder punched Debraux.
Frederick County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ross Spicer said Tuesday that the two men offered conflicting versions of how the argument started.
“Mr. Schroeder would say Mr. Debraux was using racial epithets that insulted him, which is why he hit Mr. Debraux,” Spicer said. “Mr. Debreux would claim that Mr. Schroeder stole one of Mr. Debraux’s firearms, and in the course of Mr. Schroeder holding on to the firearm, he headbutted Mr. Debraux.”
Debraux left Schroeder’s house after pushing Schroeder off the back porch. Debraux later began firing shots from a handgun toward Schroeder’s house.
Debraux said he fired the shots after Schroeder fired several rounds at him, but Spicer said no cartridges were found in the area where Debraux said Schroeder had been shooting at him.
Spicer said Schroeder tested positive for gunshot residue on his hand. Spicer said Schroeder had handled one of Debraux’s guns earlier in the evening. The gunshot residue found on Schroeder was likely to have come from his handling of the gun and not linked to any shots fired at Debraux, Spicer said.
The sentence imposed on Debraux was the same as the prosecution and defense recommendations contained in the plea agreement.
Spicer said alcohol was a factor in the shooting. Debraux registered a .20 blood alcohol level on a preliminary breath test administered after the incident. The legal limit for driving in Virginia is 0.08.
“It was an unfortunate circumstance,” Spicer said of the events leading up the shooting. “Mr. Debraux had no criminal record, and by all indications this was conduct outside of his normal character. As I said at the plea hearing yesterday, it involved a terrible combination of excessive alcohol consumption and firearms.
“I think Mr. Debraux is remorseful, but unfortunately for the victim’s family, no amount of remorse will bring Mr. Trenary back.”
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org