SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vermont — One of three suspects arrested in connection with a fatal shooting in a parking lot last year has pleaded no contest to a lowered charge of voluntary manslaughter as part of a deal that calls for a prison sentence of 13 to 25 years.
Robert Dougherty, 39, pleaded guilty Tuesday to assaulting and stealing crack cocaine from Abdul Clay in South Burlington in April 2012. Prosecutors agreed to drop a first-degree murder charge. Dougherty, of Winooski, had faced trial next Monday.
Clay died from a gunshot wound to the abdomen.
The Burlington Free Press reported (http://bfpne.ws/1eqeuPM) Dougherty was being held at the Northeast State Correctional Facility in St. Johnsbury and will receive credit for time served since his arrest shortly after the shooting.
A co-defendant, 21-year-old Jacob Beane, of Winooski, pleaded guilty to assault and robbery and was sentenced to six to 15 years in prison. Twenty-seven-year-old Krystal Tyler pleaded guilty to being an accessory to murder and was sentenced to up to seven years in prison.
At the time of the shooting, police said Beane and Dougherty planned to rob a drug dealer because they wanted crack but didn't have the money to pay for it and Clay was shot by Dougherty after Clay and Beane fought over money.
Dougherty is due to be sentenced next month.
Information from: The Burlington Free Press, http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com