Huntington murder suspect pleads guilty to other charges

January 6, 2019 GMT

HUNTINGTON — While a suspect in a 2017 Huntington homicide case admitted his guilt to intoxicated driving and drug possession charges, a murder charge is still pending in Cabell Circuit Court.

Jonathan McDonald, 30, of Huntington, pleaded guilty to third-offense driving under the influence, second-offense driving under the influence and possession of a controlled substance. Cabell Circuit Judge Gregory Howard sentenced him in December to serve three-and-a-half to six-and-a-half years in prison.

McDonald was charged in the death of Carlos Ray Ferguson, 37, who died days after being shot in the head Nov. 29, 2017. According to Cabell County Prosecutor Sean “Corky” Hammers, the murder charge against McDonald is still pending.

Huntington Police Detective Chris Sperry and criminal complaints filed in Cabell County Magistrate Court said several witnesses, including the victim, and an ID left at the shooting scene placed McDonald as a suspect.

Witnesses said McDonald and a woman had come across Ferguson, who was arguing with another woman while driving along the 600 block of 7th Avenue. McDonald interjected and Ferguson got out of his vehicle. The woman who had been arguing with Ferguson allegedly told Sperry she then heard a popping sound, like firecrackers, and saw Ferguson drop.

McDonald and the woman he was with then fled the scene, but the woman dropped her wallet. An ID in the wallet pinned the woman as being at the scene — unless someone else had possession of the card, Sperry said.

Police responded to the address on the card in the 400 block of 4th Avenue, where they found McDonald, who said he had just gotten home and did not know what was happening. Sperry said by that time McDonald had changed clothing and disposed of the firearm.

Police later found the woman who the ID belonged to, and her statement was identical to other witness accounts naming McDonald as the shooter. The woman told Sperry she knew he had previously possessed a gun, but not at the time of the shooting.

McDonald also allegedly had seven 1-milligram pills of alprazolam and a suboxone strip in his possession when police arrested him.

The charges to which McDonald pleaded guilty in December 2018 were unrelated to the shooting.

The driving under the influence and possession of a controlled substance charges surround incidents that occurred in June and August of 2017. McDonald admitted he had possessed meth in the August incident.

McDonald remains housed at Western Regional Jail in Barboursville.

Follow reporter Courtney Hessler at Facebook.com/CHesslerHD and via Twitter @HesslerHD.