James Santangelo, II Found Guilty of Murder

James Santangelo, 23, is charged with killing Charles Ooten, 52.

Update: 11:30 pm

Chatham, VA-A Pittsylvania County jury has found the 23-year-old James Santangelo, II guilty of second degree murder, for the stabbing death of 52-year-old Charles Ooten Tuesday night.

Santangelo took to the witness stand in preparation for the sentencing recommendation to apologize to Ooten's family. Santangelo's mother also took the stand as a character witness for her son and shared a tearful embrace with Ooten's widow after stepping down.

The defendant was found guilty of stabbing Ooten after their love affair ended in a physical altercation two days prior to the murder. Ultimately the jury recommended 8 years in prison.

Both the prosecutor and the defense feel like that's a fair sentence.

"I think the jury was very conscientious in this case. This was a difficult, emotional case for everyone," said Defense Attorney Joseph Sanzone.

"We're satisfied whenever the jury renders a verdict - good, bad or indifferent - because it's the will of the people,"said Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney, Pittsylvania County Robert Brian Haskins.

Now it's up to the judge to decide the final sentence for Santangelo. A formal sentencing hearing will be held in March.


Chatham, VA - Closing arguments ended Tuesday Evening in the trial of James Santangelo, charged with killing a man that he was romantically linked to.

Originally police gave few details on the relationship between Santangelo, 23, and Charles Ooten, 52.

Santangelo's defense claimed that he had an intimate relationship with Ooten and that he felt taken advantage of over car payments on the victim's vehicle that they had arranged for Santangelo to pay.

Ooten's wife, who was aware of the relationship between the two men, testified that she witnessed a physical altercation stemming from their financial agreement two days before the murder.

Santangelo , who bears a tattoo of Ooten's name on his right arm, says he loved the victim and stabbed him out of self-defense after a meeting over money turned violent.

The state says Santangelo was angry at the victim for ending their relationship, so he killed him.

The jury heard testimonies from family members of both men and was in deliberation Tuesday Evening.

Stay with ABC 13 and for further updates.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off