A man who cut a deal with prosecutors then refused to testify against his co-defendant pleaded guilty Friday to criminal charges in the shooting and robbery of an off-duty sheriff's deputy who was carrying a bank deposit for Cattlemen's Steakhouse.
Keonta Stephen Terrell Prince, 19, of Oklahoma City, pleaded guilty to one count of shooting with intent to kill and one count of robbery with a firearm.
He is to be sentenced March 22 and could face up to life in prison.
Oklahoma County sheriff's Maj. John Waldenville, 61, was shot in the face and lost his right eye as he walked to a nearby bank just after midnight on May 21, 2011. He was robbed of $6,000.
Last week, a jury convicted co-defendant Christopher Travis Baker, 30, of Oklahoma City, on the same charges and recommended a life sentence with the possibility of parole.
Baker is set to be sentenced Feb. 8 by District Judge Kenneth C. Watson.
Had he testified against Baker, Prince would have served 17 years in prison. But because he reneged on the deal and entered a guilty plea without an agreement, sentencing is left to up to the judge.
Watson told Prince that he would not treat him any different from Baker.
“You had a gift and you threw it away,” the judge said.
If Prince receives a life sentence, he would have to serve 38.3 years before becoming eligible for parole because he must serve 85 percent of 45 years, prosecutors said.
When asked by the judge if he committed the crimes to which he was entering guilty pleas, Prince said, “I didn't shoot nobody.”
Prince, a former Cattlemen's dishwasher, had testified against Baker at Baker's preliminary hearing. He was, however, a no-show at Baker's trial.
Prosecutors instead read a transcript of Prince's prior testimony to jurors.
In it, Prince said he and Baker planned to rob Waldenville, but it was Baker who shot and robbed the lawman of two bank bags when he turned and appeared to be reaching for his gun.
Prince testified previously that both men approached Waldenville as he walked to the bank but Prince stopped about five feet short of the lawman out of fear.
“I got too close to him,” Prince said. “If I snatch these bags I'm dead.”
Baker's attorney, Craig Hoehns argued at trial that Baker was innocent because he wasn't there the night Waldenville was ambushed.
“This man is not guilty because he didn't do it,” Hoehns said in his closing argument. “They got the wrong guy.”
Hoehns told jurors that Prince and another man shot and robbed Waldenville. Prince, he said, turned in Baker because Baker knew about the robbery and stole money from Prince.
Hoehns also said Prince couldn't be trusted because he testified that a third man participated in the shooting and robbery of Waldenville by tipping them off as the security guard exited the restaurant.
But charges against Diante Keon Douglas, 18, of Midwest City, were dropped after Prince said he lied when he implicated Douglas.
District Attorney David Prater declined to comment.
Prince's mother refused to speak with reporters about her son, who has an eighth-grade education, records show.