A man charged as an accomplice in a drug-related killing has pleaded guilty to reduced charges, and will be heading to prison as part of the plea deal. Erick Michael Burwell, 38, has pleaded guilty to the charges of manslaughter and robbery, both second-degree felonies, in the death of 24-year-old Christian McDonald. He had been facing charges of murder, and aggravated robbery, both first degree felonies, as well as a charge of obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony.
His co-defendant, 45-year-old Jeremiah Ray Hart, was found guilty by a jury of aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, earlier this month. The jury also found Hart to be guilty of obstruction of justice and possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, both second-degree felonies. Hart was accussed of shooting and killing McDonald on Jan 24, 2015, after he tried to steal drugs being sold by McDonald.
According to plea documents, Burwell admitted to planning the robbery with Hart that led to McDonald's death. After accepting the terms of the plea deal and entering his guilty plea he was sentenced to two terms of at least one and up to 15 years in prison. According to the deal the prosecutors the sentences will run concurrently. Sentencing is expected to take place on Nov 29.
Photo courtesy of the Salt Lake City Police Department