The three remaining co-defendants charged in the 2013 murder of Demitri Hampton pleaded guilty last week to reduced charges and are scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 1, according to online court records.
All three — Corry Wallace, Danielle Hall and Michael Parrish — had faced second-degree murder charges. Instead, they all pleaded guilty to burglary charges in Suffolk County Criminal Court Sept. 26 before Judge John Collins.
Mr. Parrish and Mr. Wallace both pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary, a class B felony carrying a maximum sentence of up to 25 years. Ms. Hall, who prosecutors said drove one of the getaway cars, pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted burglary, a class C felony carrying a sentence of up to 15 years in prison. The murder charge against her was dismissed; it was covered under the plea agreements for Mr. Parrish and Mr. Wallace, according to court records.
A district attorney spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Richard Stafford, the attorney representing Mr. Wallace, said his client is expected to receive a sentence of eight years plus five years of post-release supervision. He said he expects Mr. Parrish, who is represented by a different attorney, to receive the same sentence.
“By the time they’re sentenced they’ll do like four years and seven months upstate,” Mr. Stafford said, noting their time already served will count toward the sentence.
Ms. Hall is scheduled to be sentenced to three years with credit for time already served and could be released in March, Mr. Stafford said.
The plea deals come five months after the prosecution’s botched case against Messiah Booker, the Brentwood man who allegedly pulled the trigger, following the revelation during trial that assistant district attorney Glenn Kurtzrock had failed to disclose hundreds of pages of evidence as required. Mr. Booker pleaded guilty in May to second-degree burglary. He was sentenced in June to five years in prison in what Judge Collins said at the time was a “travesty of justice.”
Shortly after Mr. Booker accepted the plea, Mr. Kurtzrock was fired. Janet Albertson, chief of the Suffolk DA homicide bureau, told the judge in the courtroom in May that prosecutors felt they were no longer able to prove the murder charge beyond a reasonable doubt.
Mr. Wallace — a brother to Ms. Hall and Mr. Booker and stepfather of Mr. Parrish — had originally accepted a plea deal to have his murder charge reduced to manslaughter in exchange for testimony he gave at his brother’s trial. He was to be sentenced to 20 years following the original plea deal.
That original plea deal was withdrawn following the violations committed by the district attorney’s office, Mr. Stafford said.
“When you have prosecutorial misconduct, my client couldn’t willingly take any kind of plea,” he said. “We were in negotiation since we became aware of this violation by the prosecutor.”
The second-degree murder charge the defendants faced had carried a possible life sentence.
Mr. Stafford said he believes the evidence withheld would have ultimately made a difference in the case against Mr. Booker and the other defendants.
“No one’s ever seen something like this in Suffolk County before,” said Mr. Stafford, who’s a former prosecutor. “They have some violations here and there … this is something that the scope and depth of it hasn’t been seen.”
The burglary that left 21-year-old Mr. Hampton dead occurred at 3 a.m. on Jan. 27, 2013. Mr. Hampton, a Riverhead High School graduate, had been playing video games in the living room of a Priscilla Avenue home where he often stayed when armed intruders burst through the front door seeking drugs and money, according to testimony in the trial. He was shot and killed after attempting to stop the burglary.
Mr. Hampton’s mother, Juanita Trent of Riverhead, told the News-Review last month that she was angered over the way the remaining cases were proceeding.
“They want to plead these people out,” she said at the time. “They want this to go away.”
Photo caption: Michael Parrish, left, Danielle Hall and Corry Wallace pictured in 2015.