A District man accepted a plea deal yesterday in Prince George's County Circuit Court in the highly publicized beating death of a young man who was attacked because he offered to buy a girl a Slurpee at a Suitland 7-Eleven.
James Jarrell White, 19, entered an Alford plea to second-degree murder, which means he acknowledged the state had enough evidence to convict him but did not admit guilt. White also entered an Alford plea to one count of riot, prosecutors said.
White entered his pleas five months after the teenager identified by prosecutors as the primary attacker was convicted by a Prince George's jury of second-degree murder and three related charges in the May 30, 2004, killing of Michael A. Bassett, 18.
That defendant, Emmanuel A. "Elmo" McClain, 16, was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Under the terms of his plea agreement, White, of Southeast Washington, faces a sentence of 15 years in prison, prosecutors said. He is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 30 by Circuit Court Judge Sherrie L. Krauser.
"I'm pleased and the Bassett family is pleased that Mr. White, though he was not the most culpable of the attackers, has accepted some level of responsibility for his actions," said Assistant State's Attorney John Maloney.
According to prosecutors, McClain confronted Bassett, whom he did not know, after Bassett offered to buy a girl a Slurpee.
McClain, White and another teenager chased Bassett onto Silver Hill Road, where they beat and stomped on him, leaving him fatally injured in the road, prosecutors said. He was then run over by two motorists.
White denied that he struck or stomped on Bassett.
It has yet to be determined whether the remaining defendant, Antoine Queen, 16, will be tried as an adult or in juvenile court.