A Topeka man accused of being present during the killing of a 77-year-old Lecompton resident pleaded guilty Tuesday to felony murder.
But the man still contends that he didn't fire the bullet that killed Clarence David Boose in April 2005 - a contention that may be tested in court as soon as this summer.
"We anticipate more charges to be filed," District Attorney Charles Branson said after Tuesday's plea hearing for Leonard Wayne Price. "We're making some final preparations."
Although Branson wouldn't comment as to who else may be charged with the murder, he is expected to file charges against Allen D. Smith - a man Price has claimed in open court pulled the trigger in Boose's slaying.
Price admitted Tuesday before District Court Judge Michael Malone accepted his plea that he was there, burglarizing the home, when Boose was killed.
"My cousin (Smith) went and knocked on the door," Price said. "No one was around."
But minutes later, while both Price and Smith were still inside, Boose re-entered the house - either from outside the home, or from the basement.from either outside the home or the basement.
"I was trying to leave," Price told Malone in court. "My cousin walked up behind him and shot him."
According to the plea agreement, Price now will serve as a witness during any further court proceedings in the murder.
In exchange for the plea, Branson agreed to drop the underlying charge of aggravated burglary - the felony that led to prosecutors charging Price with murder.
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"Obviously, that's hard for us to turn down," Branson said of the plea Tuesday.
The plea will likely garner Price the least amount of prison time possible for the crimes. The mandatory sentence for felony murder is life in prison, with the chance for parole in 20 years.
Any other combination of aggravated burglary and charges related to the murder would have given Price more years behind bars, according to the state's sentencing guidelines for a person with Price's criminal history.
Price and Smith already are serving prison sentences for attempted murder for a shooting during a Pottawatomie County burglary less than a week after Boose's killing. Price's new murder sentence will be served concurrently.
Malone also agreed not to transfer Price back to state custody for two weeks at Branson's request - allowing his office the time to file additional charges in the case. Price will be locked up at the Douglas County Jail for that time.
And because Price agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, Malone agreed to push his sentencing back to May 18 - so if Price changed his story on the witness stand, prosecutors could re-file the aggravated burglary charge.