Archive for Saturday, January 20, 1996

OTTAWA SHOOTING SUSPECT ENTERS PLEA

January 20, 1996

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— A 17-year-old Topeka boy is facing a 7 1/2-year prison sentence after pleading guilty Friday to a murder charge in the death of an Ottawa teen-ager.

Nathan Earwood admitted firing a .22-caliber pistol into a group of people on Sept. 24, 1995, at the Ottawa apartment where the victim, Stephanie Perez, 14, was living.

"I didn't go there with the intention of killing anybody," Earwood told Franklin County District Judge Thomas Sachse. "I wanted to frighten the Perez brothers and some of their friends.

"Later, people told me that the bullets I fired probably killed Stephanie Perez."

Stephanie died after being struck in the chest by a .22 bullet. Authorities described her as an innocent bystander in the incident, which was part of a running gang confrontation between Stephanie's brothers and a group of teens that included Earwood.

John Wilcox, an assistant Franklin County attorney, told Sachse that witnesses said Earwood was the only person who fired at the Perezes.

Sachse set sentencing for Feb. 16. Earwood's court record includes two misdemeanor convictions and one felony conviction.

In return for the guilty plea, prosecutors dismissed felony counts of conspiracy to commit aggravated battery and possession of a handgun by a convicted felon.

Neither Wilcox nor Scott Ryburn, Earwood's attorney, would comment about the case after the hearing.

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