LUMBERTON — Two people have pleaded guilty in connection with the death of Fairmont 16-year-old Daquan Stephens in 2013, doing so just as jury selection for the trial began.
Jerod Kutree McNeill pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder on Tuesday, and Bobby Deshawn Jones pleaded guilty Monday to being an accessory after the fact to first-degree murder, according to District Attorney Johnson Britt.
Stephens, a student at Fairmont High School, was shot and killed on March 22, 2013, while playing basketball at Calvin Haggin Park in Fairmont. Officers said at the time that McNeill approached Stephens on the basketball court, spoke with Stephens and shot him. McNeill, 19, and Jones, 23, were each arrested about two weeks after Stephens’ death.
“Of the two, [Jones’] was the most difficult case to prove because he was the non-shooter,” Britt said.
Britt said he wasn’t surprised McNeill and Jones accepted plea bargains. Both had been offered pleas before jury selection began for their trial Monday.
Jones appeared in court a few weeks ago and expressed an intent to plead guilty, Britt said. He entered the plea Monday and was sentenced to a minimum of eight years and eight months, and a maximum of 11 years and five months in prison.
Jury selection resumed today and when the court recessed around 11 a.m., McNeill’s attorney told Britt that McNeill would agree to plead guilty. He was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.