Three defendants charged in connection with the 2007 murder of Kawasikis Ricks pleaded guilty in Newton County Superior Court Tuesday, days before they were scheduled to go on trial.
Clarence Lamar Benton, 17, entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to commit murder, armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He was sentenced by Judge John Ott to a total of 35 years, with 20 years in confinement.
Benton, who reportedly had a history of juvenile crimes including possession of marijuana and bringing a weapon on school grounds, also pleaded guilty to aiding Robert Quantrell Broughton when he fled after shooting Martia Logan in 2006 by hindering and giving false information to investigators.
Marino Demetries Tuggle, 17, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder, armed robbery and
possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
He was sentenced to 25 years, with 15 years in confinement.
Brandon Lenard Hudnal, 21, also entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to commit murder and armed robbery.
He received a sentence of 20 years, with 10 in confinement.
The sentencing recommendations were based upon the defendant's cooperation and truthfulness with investigators, said Chief Assistant District Attorney Layla Zon.
Hudnal had been the most truthful with investigators initially, she said, and he had no criminal history and was also employed at the time.
Benton, Tuggle and Hudnal are also required to testify truthfully against Trevarius White, 17, Terrance Reid, 21, who are still scheduled to go to trial the week of June 16.
The incident reportedly occurred after a double-crossed drug deal in the Hidden Pines subdivision in June 2007.
Ricks and another man arranged to buy 20 pounds of marijuana from a group of five men - Trevarius White, 17, Terrance Reid, 21, Benton, Hudnal and Tuggle.
The group, however, never intended to sell the drugs and instead planned on robbing the victim.
Ricks, 29, was allegedly shot in the back with a shotgun by White as he and the other man fled the scene. Benton, Tuggle and Reid were reportedly present during the shooting and Hudnal served as the get-away driver.