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Witnesses inspire guilty plea for burglar
by Debbie Lurie-Smith
Mar 28, 2013 | 1214 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Witnesses to a crime can alter the outcome of a case without ever taking the witness stand, or so it appeared in Jones County Superior Court last week.

Ronald Trayron Willis pled guilty to two counts of burglary March 21 and received a sentence of seven years in prison. Superior Court Judge Hugh Wingfield pronounced the sentence, which was part of a plea negotiation with the state.

The defendant was actually listed on the court calendar for a similar transactions hearing, which typically precedes a trial. When his name was called to come before the judge, however, it was to enter a plea.

Willis received seven years on each of the burglary counts, but the sentences were allowed to run concurrently for a total of seven years. Wingfield said the maximum sentence for the offenses is 40 years to serve.

Two witnesses in the burglary case were in the courtroom, and Assistant District Attorney Gregory Bushway expressed his gratitude for their attendance following the acceptance of Willis’ plea.

“Tell them their being here prompted that,” Bushway instructed victims’ advocate Kristen Dupree.

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