MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) One of three men charged in a robbery that left a Mobile Police officer shot was supposed to stand trial Monday morning, instead he pleaded guilty to all charges.
Ronald Crear was charged with one count of robbery and five counts of attempted murder after last year's robbery at the Winn Dixie on Government Street.
Sources in the defense attorney community tell me this was in the works last week. What Crear did was to enter what's called a "Blind Guilty Plea" to all six charges. That immediately cancelled the need for a trial.
It does make one wonder if a deal has been struck for Crear to testify against the other two men charged with the shootout and robbery. Both Crear's attorney and the District Attorney say there's no deal and the punishment could be harsh: 20 to 99 years in prison on each of the six counts.
"He was the one that was there, armed with a handgun, pointing the weapon at many, many of the store employees as well as many of the officers," Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich said. "However, he was not the one that actually shot officer Wynn, but he was there as a very active participant in this crime."
"Mr. Crear and I had a long conversation about accomplice liability, his involvement in the crimes," Defense Attorney Walter Honeycutt said. "There was no doubt he was guilty of a robbery, there was no doubt he was going to be found guilty of attempted murder, at least on Officer Wynn. That the evidence, as it came out, was all video taped, he confessed. So there's no sense in wasting taxpayer's money on a trial."
It also spared officer Wynn from having to relive his own ordeal at least once in a court of law. He was in the courtroom Monday. Wynn nearly died from wounds he received when he responded to the robbery call at that Winn Dixie.
If there's no deal, did Crear plead guilty just to keep taxpayers from having to pay for a trial? Not necessarily. Collier Kirksey, considered the inside man in the robbery, has his trial set for March 25. Crear's sentencing is set for a month after that. It could be Crear is hoping that if he does testify against Kirksey, he might score some points with the court.