ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- In Alameda Superior Court Thursday, 33-year-old Delonzo Logwood pleaded "no contest" to voluntary manslaughter in a murder-for-hire plot, and now faces a possible 12-year prison sentence. This plea deal comes after the prosecution dropped two other murder charges against Logwood, citing problems with a key witness.
One key witness linked Delonzo Logwood to the killing of 22-year-old Eric Ford at a gas station on July 1, 2008. The man listed in court documents as "DL" testified he overheard Logwood "agree to kill Mr. Ford in exchange for a $10,000 bounty."
But, Thursday in Alameda County Superior Court, Prosecutor Nick Homer told the judge, DL refuses to testify and that several other witnesses contradict his story.
Homer wrote, "DL was lying in whole or in part when he testified at the preliminary hearing." The prosecutor now says he doesn't know who pulled the trigger.
Logwood's defense attorney, David Briggs, told the I-Team's Dan Noyes, "The prosecution has abandoned that theory that he pulled the trigger. Dan, he didn't do it."
Briggs said Logwood pleaded "no contest" to voluntary manslaughter and a gun enhancement that bring 12 years in state prison, not because he killed Ford, but to avoid a potentially greater sentence if he went to trial. "We know that people get wrongfully convicted. And they can get wrongfully convicted in a case like this. That has a lot of publicity. We just felt like we had to give Mr. Logwood some assurance that he would have a life after this case is over."
District Attorney Pamela Price already dismissed two other murder charges against Logwood, based on problems with DL's testimony. Price released a pre-recorded statement June 2 about the case, in which she said, "It is our obligation to follow the evidence and not prosecute someone who we do not believe a jury will find guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."
But this afternoon, the original prosecutor on the case, Stacie Pettigrew, texted the I-Team, "Price doesn't understand the law of murder. That was apparent in our first meeting about the Logwood case. Her position was, 'if Logwood and his co-conspirator are both trying to shoot the victim and Logwood's gun jams... he's clearly not guilty of murder.' That is simply false. DL, through his lawyer, made it clear he would come to court. Experienced trial lawyers know how to handle that situation because it is extremely common in Oakland. Pamela Price's inexperience is why we are here. This is simply the continuation of putting an agenda before justice. It's the victims who will continue paying the price, and that is a travesty."
Prosecutor Homer says he's been unable to reach Eric Ford's mother to hear what she thinks about the plea deal. After Thursday's hearing, Logwood's mother again declined to comment, but promised she'll have a lot to say after her son's sentencing on July 13.
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