Tyree Feaster is facing up to 14 years in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated robbery and weapons charges during a court hearing that was later disrupted by a man posing as a Beacon Journal reporter.
Feaster’s plea to a 2013 Alphada Avenue home invasion took only a few minutes, but moments after he left the courtroom with his lawyer, an unidentified man poked his head through the doors leading to the public gallery and asked how to get to the prosecutor’s office.
The man identified himself as a Beacon Journal reporter, then briefly exchanged words with Akron police Detective Scott Litke, who was the lead investigator in the armed robbery case, and Summit Assistant Prosecutor Mike Rickett, who handled Feaster’s plea.
A security detail of sheriff’s deputies was alerted while Litke followed the intruder into the third-floor courtroom hallway, and he was questioned there and ordered to leave the courthouse grounds.
No one was hurt, and the man was later identified as L.A. Willis, who is also known to go by various aliases, a sheriff’s official said.
Common Pleas Judge Alison McCarty was not present when the commotion began. She was in her chambers after taking the plea.
Feaster, 24, has a lengthy history in the county’s adult and juvenile justice systems. He was one of six co-defendants arrested in January 2007 in the shooting death of Shawrica Lester outside the former Cage teen nightclub.
Lester, who was 18, died in the club’s East Market Street parking lot following a fight and an exchange of gunfire by rival gangs, police said.
Feaster was 17 at the time.
He pleaded guilty in juvenile court to involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault and gang-related charges. Under Ohio law, his sentence originally would have called for his release from a juvenile facility after four years, once he turned 21.
But while Feaster was in custody, he refused to testify against a co-defendant in the Cage slaying. He also was involved in a fight at the state juvenile facility where he was being held, and those acts led to the filing of additional charges.
Juvenile Judge Linda Tucci Teodosio extended Feaster’s sentence to 13 years under the state’s Serious Youth Offender law, but he was released from prison in 2011 on appeal after the court ruled that he could retract his guilty plea.
It eventually was determined that Teodosio failed to inform Feaster that his sentence included five years of probation upon his release — a requirement under state sentencing guidelines — and he was allowed to withdraw his guilty pleas.
While he was out, he was arrested again in June 2012 on weapons charges. He pleaded guilty to carrying a concealed weapon and other charges. Common Pleas Judge Paul Gallagher sentenced him to 90 days in jail and two years probation.
In the home invasion case, Feaster was set for trial Monday morning, but a plea bargain was reached just before noon. He pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary and firearms charges attached to both offenses.
McCarty set sentencing for Aug. 12 at 9 a.m. The charges are first-degree felonies carrying potential prison terms of three to 11 years, plus a mandatory three-year term for the firearms specification.
Prosecutors had charged Feaster and a co-defendant, Travaski Jackson, 24, with an Oct. 6 armed robbery and kidnapping of a 34-year-old Akron man. Both were wearing masks when they entered the home.
Feaster also was indicted for kidnapping, but that charge was dismissed in exchange for his plea.
Two women, who previously pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery for aiding Feaster and Jackson in the break-in, are awaiting sentencing in the case.
Jackson’s trial is underway in McCarty’s court, and prosecutors are expected to begin presenting evidence today following opening statements.
Jackson also is charged in an unrelated case with multiple counts of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, kidnapping and other offenses in the November shooting death of Angelo Kearney, 36, and the assault of his half-brother.
Jackson has a co-defendant, Dashaun Spears, in that case, too. Spears was set to go to trial Monday, but pleaded guilty to multiple first-degree felonies before jury selection began.
Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or email@example.com.