CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Kanawha County man scheduled to go on trial for a third time in connection with a 2015 shooting death agreed Thursday to enter a plea deal with Kanawha County prosecutors instead.
Tremaine Jackson, 25, of Charleston, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter under the Kennedy plea provision in connection with the death of Bryan Rogers. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The two previous trials both ended in mistrials. A third trial would have been risky for both sides, Kanawha County Assistant Prosecutor Maryclaire Akers said.
“We don’t really know how that would turn out and I can’t confidently look at a victim’s family and say, “I can do my best for you and I think the likely outcome is this and this.’ In this case I had to say to them, ‘I don’t think we’re in a good situation now,'” Akers said.
Rogers, 29, of Ripley, was shot and killed near Littlepage Terrace Apartments on Charleston’s West Side on Dec. 27, 2015. He later died at CAMC General. Prosecutors said the shooting was over stolen heroin.
The first trial, which was conducted in September 2016, ended when a member of the jury investigated the crime scene on her own, told fellow jurors about her findings and then lied about it to the judge. Taniqra Payne was charged with perjury after Kanawha County sheriff’s deputies produced photos that were taken of her at the scene of the killing near 7th Avenue and Rebecca Street in Charleston.
The second trial, held this past July, was declared a mistrial after the jury couldn’t reach a verdict.
Akers said both sides realized there were challenges in the case.
“We had seen all of the evidence twice and it just got to the point that we knew we had to work out a deal,” Akers said. “Neither side could be confident of what the outcome would be in a situation like that.”
Under the Kennedy plea, Jackson said he understood what the state’s evidence would be against him.
“He pleads guilty to the evidence the state would present. He pleads guilty under our version of what occurred. He just is not required to stand up and say what he did,” she said.
Akers said after two trials the plea deal was the best option for the state.
“I think it would have been a stupid risk and not smart to go to trial if there was a possible resolution because I did not want to risk losing the case,” she said.
Jackson entered the plea before Kanawha County Circuit Judge Charles King.