After two juries couldn't reach a verdict in the murder case against him, Shante D. Kelley decided he didn't want to take a chance on a third trial. The 20-year-old from Reynoldsburg pleaded guilty yesterday to voluntary manslaughter in the 2011 shooting death of 17-year-old E'stabonn Pitts on a Hilltop street.
After two juries couldn’t reach a verdict in the murder case against him, Shante D. Kelley decided he didn’t want to take a chance on a third trial.
The 20-year-old from Reynoldsburg pleaded guilty yesterday to voluntary manslaughter in the 2011 shooting death of 17-year-old E’stabonn Pitts on a Hilltop street.
Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Kimberly Cocroft sentenced Kelley to 11 years as part of his agreement with the prosecutor. He will be credited with the 710 days he has served since his arrest.
The sentence was the maximum penalty for the offense, which was reduced from murder in the plea deal, plus one year for using a gun. But Cocroft, who found Kelley’s courtroom demeanor irritating, didn’t think the sentence was sufficient.
“If I could give you more time, I would,” she told Kelley, saying he showed no remorse and no appreciation for the gravity of his actions. “You have a false sense of self that I’m confident will be broken when you get to the institution.”
Assistant Prosecutor Jeffrey Zezech said Pitts was walking on Belvidere Avenue near W. Broad Street on May 22, 2011, when Kelley and another man confronted him. After an argument, Kelley shot Pitts in the chest with a handgun, Zezech said.
Kelley’s trials in December 2011 and last August ended in mistrials when juries told the judge they were deadlocked. In the most-recent trial, jurors voted 11-1 to convict Kelley of murder for killing Pitts during a felonious assault. If the vote had been unanimous, Kelley would have been sentenced to 18 years to life in prison.
Having sat through both trials, Cocroft told Kelley yesterday, “I believe you are so guilty."
He told her he didn’t want to make a statement before sentencing.
“Is there anything that resonates about what you have done?” she asked.
“No, ma’am,” he said. “I just took the deal because I don’t want to lose at trial, ma’am.”
“Wow,” Cocroft replied. “Arrogant and cocky to the end, at 20 years old. Unbelievable.”
In addition to the prison time, the judge imposed a $1,000 fine and court costs.
The man accused of murder as Kelley’s accomplice — Anthony K. Broomfield, 21, of Kenview Road on the East Side — is scheduled for trial on June 17.