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No deal so far for co-defendant in York hit-man case

Liz Evans Scolforo
717-505-5429/@LizScolforoYD

A plea deal has not yet been reached for a man who says he agreed to be a hit man for Gregory Allen Hess, but who instead testified against Hess for consideration on his own charges.

Deonsae Bryant, 31, remains in York County Prison on charges of solicitation to commit first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

"He just wants to get out and take care of his family," said defense attorney John Hamme. "His daughter was born while he was in prison."

Hamme said Bryant testified truthfully against Hess at the York businessman's trial last month. He told jurors he was willing to kill Michael Crampton, a government witness against Hess, in exchange for $20,000, a work truck and a "legitimate" job.

"He's a convicted felon, so he couldn't get a job anywhere," Hamme said. "He had a baby on the way."

'Tricky situation': The attorney said Bryant testified against Hess last month without a plea deal in place, but with the understanding that the York County District Attorney's Office would take his cooperation into consideration when fashioning a plea agreement.

"It's a tricky situation," Hamme said. "What kind of deal do you give him?"

Discussions about what the plea agreement should be are positive, he confirmed.

Bryant was locked up from July 2014 to December 2014, then released. He was sent back to prison Nov. 13 for violating a bail condition, according to his attorney.

Hamme said his goal is to secure a deal that gets Bryant out of prison.

"I think he's seen the light," Hamme said.

Bryant was back in court Thursday on a bail revocation hearing, which senior deputy prosecutor Sarah Buhite said was merely a housekeeping matter, since Bryant has been in county prison for more than two weeks. The matter was resolved when Common Pleas Judge Harry Ness signed a bail revocation order.

The background: Hess, 48, of Hoff Road in North Codorus Township, was convicted Nov. 20

Prosecutors argued to the jury that Hess hired Calvin Jones Jr. to kill Hess' wife's lover, then hired Michael Crampton to kill Jones when he realized Jones was working with police, then hired Bryant to kill Crampton because Crampton went to prosecutors.

Jurors convicted Hess of one count each of solicitation to commit first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and using a telephone to further his criminal scheme — a charge called "criminal use of a communications facility."

The charges are first-degree felonies, each carrying a maximum of 20 years in prison. Hess is scheduled to be sentenced at 9 a.m. Dec. 31, according to court records.

Also awaiting resolution on his charges is Hess' son, Toby Hess, who police said intimidated Jones at a court hearing by taking the man's photo, and who delivered $500 to Bryant's girlfriend on behalf of his incarcerated father.

Toby Hess has a pretrial conference scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Dec. 15 and could plead guilty then.

Greg Hess was called the $10 million man for being given the highest bail amount in York County history.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com.

Deonsae Bryant
Greg Hess