Mikell L. Thomas, 16, pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court on Monday to armed robbery. The judge accepted the plea negotiation for a 20-year prison sentence and Thomas’ testimony against his co-defendant, Chad Walker.
“No words can express the sorrow, the grief, the emptiness,” said David Marshall, whose 29-year-old son, Buchanan Marshall, was killed.
Thomas and Walker set out to do a robbery and that’s what they accomplished; they stole a life, he said.
Thomas said he was hanging out with friends at Jennings Home the night of Oct. 9, 2011, when a stranger approached the group and asked about drugs. Everyone ran off, but Thomas and Walker came back and Walker talked to the man, Scott McCord, a friend of the victim’s, about drugs, Thomas said. He had given Walker the gun to use to rob the man.
The three walked over to where Marshall was waiting on Cooney Circle for McCord. Thomas said Walker pulled open the driver’s side door and demanded money. He hit Marshall in the head with the gun. Marshall started to fight back and that’s when Thomas heard the gunshot, he said Monday. He and Walker both took off, running in different directions, he said.
Sheriff investigators had no evidence to work with after Marshall was killed, Assistant District Attorney Sam Nicholson told the judge Monday. Ten days after the homicide, Thomas and his mother went to the sheriff’s office and he made a statement, implicating himself and Walker. His early acceptance of responsibility and identification of the shooter led to the plea offer, Nicholson said.
Walker, 22, has pleaded not guilty to all charges. He will be tried at a later day.