Whenever a young suspect pleads guilty to a crime, it calls into question the voluntariness of his plea. It is tremendously stressful to be charged with murder and nearly everyone would be reasonably afraid of losing at trial. Under such stress and fear, it is possible that a suspect might not make wise choices. He or she may not request legal counsel when it is absolutely vital to speak with a lawyer. He or she may decide to plead guilty when an experienced criminal defense attorney would be able to help. When the suspect is young, however, it is easier for police and the prosecutor to play up a suspect’s fears.
According to police, two years ago a young man killed a 21 year old as he was boarding a Metro bus in Washington, D.C. At the time of the alleged murder, the suspect was 17-years-old. Now a 19 year old, the man has recently pled guilty to possession of a firearm and second-degree murder while armed. It is unclear if the young man had consulted with a lawyer prior to entering a guilty plea or if prosecutors offered him a plea deal. What is clear, however, is that this decision will alter this young man’s life forever.
After pleading guilty, the 19 year old was sentenced to five years in prison for the firearm offense. He was also sentenced to a concurrent 20-year sentence for the supposed murder. NBC Washington does not indicate that he will receive credit for any time previously served or if he has the possibility of parole.
The Washington, D.C., native was allegedly with two other men at the time of the shooting. According to prosecutors, the suspect and one of the men shot at the 21 year old as he boarded a bus. The two other men suspected of the crime have also pled guilty, but they have not yet been sentenced.
Source: NBC Washington, “D.C. Man Sentenced in Bus Stop Murder,” Sept. 23, 2011