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Woman enters plea in club shooting

March 11, 2003|by STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Days before a jury was to be selected for her murder trial, Sally A. Sellers entered a no contest plea in the 2000 slaying of a veterans post vice commander.

Sellers, of St. Thomas, Pa. entered the plea Thursday before Judge Carol Van Horn in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.

A no contest plea means the defendant is not admitting guilt, but is offering no defense.

Under the agreement Sellers, 32, will serve eight to 20 years in state prison on one count of conspiracy to commit murder in the third degree, according to court records.

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If convicted of criminal homicide during a trial that was to begin March 24, Sellers would have faced life in prison without parole. Jury selection was to have begun Monday.

She also was charged with conspiracy to commit homicide, robbery and two counts of criminal attempt homicide, but will not be prosecuted on those charges as part of the plea agreement.

Sellers' sentence will run from Aug. 7, 2001, when she was first arrested as a suspect in the June 11, 2000, shootings at the Vietnam Veterans Post Club in Chambersburg, according to court records.

Police have said Sellers and codefendant Jonna M. Johnson were attempting to rob the club and fatally shot Robert Tucker and wounded employees Kimberly Bigger and William Groff.

Johnson was convicted of first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of criminal attempt homicide in November. She is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Johnson confessed to the shootings but later said Sellers entered the club after it closed and shot Groff and Bigler while standing behind her.

Both women were members of the post and involved in a romantic relationship. They were planning to rob the post after closing and buy a mobile home together, according to court records.

Sellers' plea agreement is similar to one from which she asked to be released last fall, claiming her then attorney had coerced her into the deal and that she was innocent.

Under that agreement, she would have served seven to 25 years in state prison.

Sellers' attorney, H. Anthony Adams, said he had no comment on the new plea agreement Monday. Assistant District Attorney T.R. Williams was not available for comment.

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