One of the men accused of taking part in a violent night of home invasions and homicide pleaded guilty Thursday.
Robert L. Gardner, 39, admitted to his role in the events of Nov. 3, 2005, when he, his cousin and a friend decided they would rob someone. They ended up wounding one robbery victim and killing a bystander, the prosecutor said.
Mr. Gardner pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to kidnapping, being an armed felon, and two counts each of armed robbery and aggravated assault. Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. accepted a plea negotiation that called for 15 years in prison followed by 10 years on probation. The deal requires Mr. Gardner to testify truthfully against his companions.
On Thursday, Mr. Gardner, 39, told the judge he agreed to cooperate because he didn't want anyone hurt that night.
Assistant District Attorney Ashley Wright told the judge that Mr. Gardner and his two companions first robbed three people inside a James Drive home before moving over to Jefferson Drive.
The men were in front of their next target when Tyrone Ramsey, 43, and a friend just happened to walk by and noticed their presence.
Ms. Wright told the judge that Telly Gardner chased down Mr. Ramsey and shot him repeatedly, while Mr. Gardner and Danny W. Thomas committed the robbery inside the house. She said that during the home invasion, Mr. Thomas shot one victim, wounding him.
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Two other men charged in the November 2005 case, Telly Gardner, 31, and Danny W. Thomas, 30, have pleaded not guilty. Their trial is scheduled for Monday, although a postponement is likely.