A York City man admitted in court to shooting a woman in the arm after an early-morning argument involving several people at a convenience store.
Thomas Washington IV, 35, formerly of the 600 block of East Market Street, pleaded guilty Wednesday to aggravated assault and being a convicted felon in illegal possession of a firearm. His trial was scheduled to begin Wednesday morning, but was canceled after a plea agreement was reached just prior to jury selection.
In exchange for Washington's plea, he was sentenced to 6-1/2 to 13 years in state prison and a charge of attempted homicide was dismissed, senior deputy prosecutor Kelley Nelson said. The sentence is in the standard range of the state's sentencing guidelines, she confirmed.
Court documents state Washington, known as "Snoop," tried to shoot Anthony Sistrunk about 2 a.m. Feb. 1, 2013, at the Sunoco A-Plus, 260 N. Sherman St. in York City.
What happened: It started when a woman confronted Washington in the store and yelled at him for supposedly nearly hitting her car. She followed him inside the store and kept yelling, at which point a second woman, identified only as Tiana, got in the middle of the argument and pushed Washington, documents state.
Tiana is Sistrunk's girlfriend, and both of rode to the A-Plus in a car driven by Tamika Goodwin, York City Police said.
After being pushed, Washington slapped Tiana in the face, police said. At that point, Sistrunk walked into the store and confronted Washington. On surveillance video, Sistrunk can be heard telling Washington to go ahead and shoot, documents state.
Police alleged Washington pulled out a gun and pulled the trigger, but the gun didn't fire.
Didn't see gun: But defense attorney George Margetas disputes that allegation, saying he viewed surveillance video 10 to 15 times and never saw Washington pull out a gun inside the store.
Police said Sistrunk then left the store and got back into Goodwin's car. A few seconds later, Washington — who had pulled his sweatshirt's hood over his head — walked up to the car and fired into it four times.
Goodwin was struck once in the right arm. She has since recovered, according to Nelson.
"The theory is ... he intended to kill Sistrunk but instead hit Tamika," Nelson said.
Witness problems: But the prosecution's case was hindered by a lack of cooperation from nearly everyone involved, she said, despite the fact that most of the incident was caught on the store's surveillance cameras.
"(Sistrunk) was not cooperative from the outset," Nelson said. "There were a number of eyewitnesses and ... a majority of them were not cooperative with this prosecution."
Goodwin did cooperate and was not opposed to the plea agreement, the prosecutor said.
Margetas said part of the reason his client pleaded guilty was because he didn't want to put Goodwin through a trial, and also because he could have faced 20 years in prison if convicted of attempted homicide.
Stuck to her guns: Despite a lack of witnesses, Nelson was unwilling to offer a plea agreement that came with a prison sentence less than the state's standard guideline range, according to Margetas.
"She was sticking to her guns," he said. "At the end of the day, my client has taken responsibility for what he did, and he's happy the commonwealth gave him a fair offer."
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org.