Instead Of A Trial, Waco Murder Defendant Opts For Guilty Plea

Facing a mandatory 40-year-sentence if convicted, a 19-year-old Waco capital murder defendant opted for a guilty plea to a lesser charge Tuesday, just before his trial was to have started.

Steve Kelly, 19, Accused of Murder

WACO (April 28, 2009)--Security was tight Tuesday morning at the McLennan County Courthouse as Steve Kelly, 19, pleaded guilty to murder in the shooting death of 21-year-old Robert Nevarez.

Kelly accepted a plea deal just before the start of his capital murder trial Tuesday of 40 years in prison for a guilty plea to the lesser charge of murder.

Prosecutors also waived retaliation charges that stemmed from threats against several people who cooperated with the investigation.

He must serve at least 20 years before he's eligible for parole.

Had he been convicted of capital murder, he would have received a mandatory life sentence with no possibility of parole.

Nevarez was found shot in the head after an attempted robbery in August 2008.

Two other men, Keith Caufield, 20, and Larry Waits, 21, are also charged in connection with the August shooting death.

Their cases are pending.


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