An Akron man weighed the odds against him for two days before deciding to plead guilty Tuesday in the 2017 shooting death of an 18-year-old Akron man.
Harold Burros knew that two other men had pleaded guilty for the shooting and had agreed to testify against him — and that he faced the possibility of life in prison without parole if convicted in a jury trial.
Burros, 27, accepted an agreement with prosecutors Tuesday afternoon and pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and aggravated robbery, both with gun specifications. Summit County Common Pleas Judge Alison McCarty immediately sentenced Burros to life in prison with possible parole after 23 years.
“I’ve only heard about the facts as presented to me,” McCarty said. “What I’ve heard is the senseless and horrific death of an innocent young man. It’s tragic and it’s unnecessary.”
Burros showed little reaction while in court, but both his family members and those of Brandon Mikeal Belleville, the shooting victim, sobbed during and after the plea and sentencing. However, the family members didn’t get into a confrontation with each other like they did on Monday when a large group was thrown out of the courthouse.
Burros is one of three Akron men arrested in the Sept. 19, 2017, shooting death of Belleville at a home in the 600 block of Minerva Place.
Prosecutors say the shooting happened during a robbery that netted about $100 and that had nothing to do with Belleville; he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Belleville was shot multiple times.
Police are looking for a fourth suspect in the shooting.
Cquincy Chatman, 18, and Lamarr Jackson, 26, both pleaded guilty Monday to involuntary manslaughter and aggravated robbery with gun specifications. Chatman’s original charges included aggravated murder, while Jackson’s charges included murder. Both will be sentenced at 2:30 p.m. May 22.
Chatman, who just turned 18, was bound over from Summit County Juvenile Court to be tried as an adult.
Burros was charged with aggravated murder, murder, aggravated robbery, felonious assault and having a weapon under disability, which means he wasn’t permitted to carry a firearm because of a previous conviction. Prosecutors agreed to drop the other charges against him.
During his plea, Burros wore dress clothes just in case he opted to take his case to trial. A pool of jurors was on standby.
Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Mayer said detectives and Belleville’s family members signed off on the plea deal. He said Belleville’s mother declined to address the court, but wanted to say she hopes her son rests in peace.
“She’s suffered enough,” Mayer said.
Kerry O’Brien, who represented Burros with attorney Don Hicks, said the negotiations were lengthy and involved discussions between Burros and his father. Burros’ father declined to speak at the sentencing.
Burros also declined the opportunity to say anything before McCarty sentenced him.
McCarty went with the sentence agreed to by attorneys. She also ordered Burros to pay the costs of the proceeding and designated him a violent offender. This means if and when he is released from prison, he will be required to register his address for 10 years.
McCarty expressed sympathy to both Belleville's and Burros’ families.
“God rest Mr. Belleville — and good luck to you,” she said to Burros as deputies led him from the courtroom in handcuffs.
Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705, firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @swarsmithabj.