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Man accepts plea bargain in connection with shooting

December 01, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

After some hesitation, a man charged with driving the getaway car in connection with the March 14 shooting death of Jonathan M. Dennis accepted a plea bargain Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court and pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact.

Victor Lawrence Anderson, 26, whose last known address before his arrest was 40 W. 115th St., New York City, was sentenced by Washington County Circuit Judge W. Kennedy Boone III to serve a three-year state prison sentence. As part of a plea agreement, Boone ordered Anderson to serve a concurrent three-year prison sentence for a violation of probation charge to which Anderson also pleaded guilty Tuesday. Boone ordered Anderson to serve three years of unsupervised probation upon his release.

Before Anderson pleaded guilty to the charges, Boone explained that if not for the plea bargain, which offered Anderson the two concurrent three-year sentences on the charges, Anderson might be facing more time.

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"Take this deal. It's Christmas. Take this deal," Boone told him.

But when Anderson was being questioned about his willingness and competency to plead guilty to the charges, Anderson was hesitant to say he was satisfied with the legal advice of his attorney, D. Bruce Poole.

"I think we have a problem," Poole said after Anderson shook his head.

Boone told Anderson that if he did not go through with the plea on Tuesday, he might not get the same deal again. He told Anderson that he might be faced with consecutive sentences under different circumstances.

Anderson then said that he was satisfied with Poole's services.

"You feeling better now?" Boone asked.

Anderson nodded.

"Good," Boone said.

Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Viki Pauler said that on the night of the shooting, Anderson was identified by witnesses as the driver of a getaway car for one of Dennis' alleged shooters. She said a police officer saw Anderson leaving Washington Gardens Apartments & Townhouses in a van following the shooting.

Poole said that Anderson broke up a fight in the housing complex earlier that night that "one of the shooters caused," removed his friend from the scene and later returned to the party and "apologized for the actions of the shooter," whom he said was not with Anderson at that time.

"Anderson was behind the wheel when one shooter, who apparently did not shoot the victim, jumped into the van," Poole said.

"That's Mr. Anderson's culpability in the whole case," he said.

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