Archive for Friday, December 23, 2005

Topekan pleads guilty in 1996 shooting death

December 23, 2005


— A Topeka man pleaded guilty Thursday to a deadly 1996 shooting at a Lawrence nightclub, a plea that came after his conviction for the shooting was overturned based on a mistake by prosecutors.

Damon L. McCray, 32, pleaded guilty in Douglas County District Court to one count of voluntary manslaughter and one count of criminal discharge of a firearm for the August 1996 death of Onzie Branch outside Langston's, a club formerly at 806 W. 24th St.

McCray's first trial ended in a hung jury, but he was convicted at a second trial in 1997. Earlier this year Judge Michael Malone granted McCray a new trial after finding prosecutors withheld information about a jailhouse informant's decision to recant a story implicating McCray in the shooting.

McCray will be sentenced Feb. 2 and is expected to face up to 69 months in prison for the manslaughter charge and 51 months for the shooting charge. He already has spent more than nine years in custody.


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