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Warr Acres man avoids trial in death of accomplice in botched drug deal

Samuel Reyes, 20, of Warr Acres. pleads guilty to manslaughter in the June 2010 death of Joel Ortiz, 19, while the men were trying to sell two pounds of marijuana.
BY TIM WILLERT twillert@opubco.com Published: April 20, 2013
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A Warr Acres man facing a life sentence in the death of a cohort during a failed drug deal pleaded guilty to a reduced charge Friday and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Samuel Reyes, 21, was charged with first-degree murder in the June 2010 shooting death of Joel Ortiz, 19. Reyes pleaded guilty to a first-degree manslaughter charge as part of a plea agreement.

His trial was set to begin Monday.

Reyes, Ortiz and a third man were attempting to sell two pounds of marijuana to a woman out of their car on June 17, 2010, when a red pickup drove up and blocked the car and two black men with guns approached the vehicle, police said.

The woman ran off with the drugs, police said.

Ervin Gerard Coleman Jr., 19, and Marcus LeQuon Johnson, 19, were charged with first-degree murder in Ortiz's death. Both pleaded guilty Dec. 2, 2011, to one count each of second-degree murder and assault and battery with a deadly weapon after making a deal with prosecutors.

Coleman was sentenced to 25 years in prison, and Johnson, who admitted pulling the trigger, was sentenced to 30 years.

A trial for Coleman and Johnson ended in mistrial after Coleman's ex-attorney was accused of being intoxicated in court.

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