PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Guilty pleas, and some drama today in the Piazza at Schmidt’s double-murder case in Northern Liberties (see previous story).
In an unusual move for unspecified security reasons, Philadelphia judge Jeffrey Minehart cleared his courtroom in the Criminal Justice Center to take a guilty plea in the high-profile Piazza double-murder case.
One of two alleged triggermen facing the potential death penalty then pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder.
In exchange for his testimony at trial, 35-year-old Donnell Murchison was then sentenced to two consecutive life prison terms without parole.
Another defendant, 28-year-old Langdon Scott, pleaded guilty to robbery and burglary charges. He is also expected to testify for the prosecution.
Authorities believe that Scott was previously stabbed in prison when it became known that he was cooperating with authorities.
Courtroom observers believe that authorities were taking extra precautions to safeguard Murchison’s wellbeing prior to his testimony.
Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio 1060