Tyree Bundy, who cooperated with authorities and admitted to taking part in the random and fatal attack on Matthew Chew in New London two years ago with five other teens, pleaded no contest Wednesday in New London Superior Court to the reduced charge of first-degree manslaughter.
Bundy, 20, will be sentenced Feb. 28 to 16 years in prison, suspended after eight years served and followed by five years of probation. The plea allows Bundy to be convicted without admitting guilt. The court, however, enters a finding of guilty on the record.
Only one remaining defendant, Marquis Singleton, has yet to resolve his case. He is expected to enter a plea when he appears in court Friday.
According to prosecutor Stephen M. Carney, the six teens gathered at the home of Idris Elahi, where they decided to go out and jump somebody at random. Two of the teens then decided that they would do something more serious.
Chew, 25, a well-liked artist, disc jockey and pizza cook, was fatally stabbed on Oct. 29, 2010, as he walked home from his job at 2Wives Brick Oven Pizza.
Carney said Bundy actively participated in the search for a victim and helped prevent Chew from escaping.
Judge Susan B. Handy has been telling all of the defendants that she will schedule their sentences for sequential days of the week in late February or March so that Chew's parents, who live in California, can attend the proceedings.
Elahi, 19, pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced in May to 35 years in prison. The state then began making plea offers to the other defendants based on whether they cooperated with the police investigation and participated in a court hearing on the case.
Rahshad Perry and Matias Perry, both 19, have pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and will be sentenced to 15-year prison sentences. Brian Rabell, a cooperating defendant, also pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and will be sentenced to eight years in prison.
Carney said Chew's parents did not endorse the plea deal but were aware of the state's reasons behind it.
Bundy was a senior at New London High School and was on track to graduate before his arrest.
During a probable cause hearing for Elahi in February 2011, Bundy testified that, "Something happened on the TV that made us want to go out and do something." He could not recall what "cop show" they were watching.
The group headed downtown in search of a victim. Bundy said they saw people in Halloween costumes coming out of the Crocker House but decided to pass them by.
"They looked like they were having a good time, came from a party," Bundy testified.
The group ran into a teacher from New London High School, who told them to "stay out of trouble."
They targeted one man as their victim but gave up on him when he climbed into a car.
Then they saw a man with a tan baseball cap walking alone on Huntington Street. Chew had clocked out from his cook job at 2Wives a short time earlier. He lived less than a tenth of a mile away, at 73 Washington St.
The teens surrounded Chew. Then, Bundy testified, "everybody jumping on him pretty much."
After the attack, Elahi attempted to pass off the knife to Bundy.firstname.lastname@example.org