Five young men have pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a fatal shooting at an East Nashville cookout in March 2007. The defendants were juveniles as young as 16 at the time of the shooting.
With a trial set to begin Monday, William Sawyers, 19, the triggerman, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder today in Davidson County Criminal Court. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison.
He and the other four co-defendants were members of an unnamed Nashville street gang that busted in on a family cookout at a Joseph Street home and demanded money and car keys. As the suspects fled, Sawyers fired one shot that hit the party host, Jose Flores, in the back. He died a few hours later.
Christopher Northern, 20, Terrence Simpson, 19, and Antwan Whitehead, 18, each pleaded guilty to facilitation of second-degree murder and received 12-year sentences.
Chrisantoney Woods, 18, also pleaded guilty to facilitation of second-degree murder, but received an 18-year, an upward departure from standard sentencing guidelines.
In addition, Simpson and Northern pleaded guilty to a separate aggravated robbery that occurred the day prior to the murder, and each received an 8-year sentence to run concurrent to their facilitation sentence.
All five were to be tried as adults.