Guilty plea in ‘Sweet 16′ murder case
BY ELLEN BILTZ
A Caroline County teenager pleaded guilty today to second degree murder by mob of Raquel Hunter and attempted robbery of a local restaurant.
In signing a plea agreement, 18-year-old Jajuan Carlos Lewis admitted he had a role in the death of Hunter at the Nov. 10, 2007, Sweet 16 party at the Madison Ruritan Club.
His case was supposed to go before a jury last week but was postponed in order for a plea deal to be agreed upon.
Lewis was one of nine, including Lawshawn Montque Monroe, charged with murder by mob in the case.
Monroe had been charged with capital murder but pleaded guilty to first degree murder earlier this year, after admitting he was the shooter in Hunter’s death.
Also in the agreement today, Lewis pleaded guilty to attempted robbery of the China Inn in Caroline.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Tony Spencer said that Lewis became a suspect in the robbery case during the murder investigation.
He said evidence showed that Lewis, who carried a .22-caliber handgun, and another man tried to rob the restaurant but were unsuccessful in getting money during the hold-up.
According to the plea agreement, Spencer and Lewis’ defense attorney have agreed to jointly recommend an active sentence of 15 years: 30 years with 20 suspended for the second degree murder and 10 years with five suspended for the attempted robbery.
A formal sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 11, and Spencer said he expects testimony from several witnesses and victims of the crimes.
The seven other teens charged with murder by mob of Hunter are expected in court July 14.
Several of them testified in Monroe’s trial before he pleaded guilty, but it is unclear how that may affect the outcomes of their cases.