Suspect Pleads Guilty in Haddock Murder
After first changing his mind about accepting a plea deal last month, Michael Graham Currie on Tuesday pleaded guilty to the murder of a 12-year-old girl in 2007.
Currie's original agreement fell apart when he appeared to change his mind about pleading guilty to first-degree murder at a June 3 hearing.
At the same hearing, Sherrod Nicholas Harrison pleaded guilty to a lesser charge - being an accessory after the fact to first-degree murder - in return for his testimony against the other suspects.
According to statements made that day in court, Currie was the man who shot and killed Emily Haddock on Sept. 11, 2007. The seventh-grader was home sick from school that day when intruders broke in through the door of her home on Marks Road outside Vass and shot her several times with a .22-caliber handgun.
Originally, both Currie and Sherrod Nicholas Harrison were facing capital trial for first-degree murder, meaning they could have been sentenced to death if they were convicted.
The state agreed to Harrison's pleading guilty to the lesser charge. Separately, Currie's attorneys had a deal under which their client would plead guilty to murder and receive a sentence of life without possibility of parole. District Attorney Maureen Krueger had agreed to that plea as well.
Members of Haddock's family endorsed the plea deals because they did not want to endure a long trial, according to Krueger.
"The family is happy that the person who actually shot their daughter is taking responsibility by confessing and spending the rest of his life in prison," Krueger said Tuesday
The terms of the new plea arrangement were not available at press time, but Currie is expected to cooperate with investigators and make a comprehensive statement about the events of the day Haddock died. He was not sentenced at this hearing. Sentencing is to take place next week.
Harrison was sentenced to serve 93 to 121 months in state prison, that time to run concurrently with his present sentences. He would get credit for time served awaiting trial since his arrest in the fall of 2007 - reducing his time in prison to about seven years. He entered what is called an Alford plea, meaning he didn't admit actual guilt but took the agreement as being in his interest.
Currie's trial was to begin next week.
Three other suspects - Ryan Jermar White, 18, of Sanford; Van Roger Smith Jr., 16; and Perry Ross Schiro, 19, both of Cameron - have also been charged in the case, but none of them face the death penalty.
At the June hearing, Krueger said the five defendants had made a number of conflicting statements. Investigators had a tough task matching their statements with physical evidence as well as to each other, she said.
Krueger described the suspects' method as knocking on doors pretending to be lost and looking for directions. If nobody answered, they would break the door and go in looking for weapons and other valuables, she said.
The girl had spoken with her mother a couple of times that morning, unhappy to have to spend a boring day out of school, according to court statements. She was in a back room, putting together a puzzle on the floor when she heard the intruders coming in. She apparently tried to hide in a bathroom and was in the doorway when she was shot.
More details of that day may be available after sentencing.
Contact John Chappell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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