Plea agreements allow courts to avoid the time and expense involved in trying a defendant. A Boulder defendant, facing an uncertain verdict at a criminal trial, may agree to plead guilty, provided prosecutors reduce charges or penalties.
Three Boulder County men were charged with the January murder of a 25-year-old Lafayette man. One defendant, a 58-year-old Berthoud man, recently opted to accept a plea deal. The man was sentenced to a 15-year prison term, after pleading guilty to robbery and accessory to murder offenses.
Prosecutors agreed to drop first-degree murder and two marijuana possession with intent to distribute charges. The remaining defendants, ages 26 and 38, are still facing charges for first-degree murder, aggravated motor vehicle theft and robbery.
The day following the discovery of the dead victim along an out-of-state highway, the man who pleaded guilty told police he was ordered to dispose of the body by the other defendants. At the time, the defendant said the two other men showed up at his home in separate vehicles, with one man driving the shooting victim’s car.
The defendant said the second vehicle, a truck, contained what looked like a tarp-wrapped body. The Berthoud resident said he then drove to North Dakota and dumped the Boulder County victim’s body along the highway.
Defense attorneys claim new testimony from the convicted defendant showed the original version of events was untrue. The man apparently later stated the victim was shot and killed in the defendant’s Berthoud home. Prosecutors did not say whether the plea deal showed the defendant was not the trigger man.
Plea deals sometimes contain a condition requiring a defendant to testify against co-defendants. You certainly can see how this is beneficial to the prosecution. Whether a plea agreement is satisfactory for a defendant is a decision that only an accused person can make based on the advice of a criminal defense attorney.
Source: Daily Camera, 1 of 3 suspects in Nathaniel Tallman murder, Mitchell Byars, July 1, 2014