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Man Pleads Guilty In 2008 West Indian Day Shootings
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The summer of 2008 was a violent one in the city of Hartford.  At the end of the West Indian day festivities in August of that year, a man was killed and six juveniles were shot.  On Thursday, one man pleaded guilty in the case.  WNPR’s Jeff Cohen reports.

Police arrested Michael Ledbetter not long after the Aug. 9, 2008 shootings. On Thursday, the 19-year-old Ledbetter pleaded guilty to seven charges – one count of first degree manslaughter with a weapon and six counts of first degree accessory assault.  
 
According to a deal he has reached with prosecutors and under consideration by a state court judge, Ledbetter could serve 14 years in jail and eight years on special parole.  Absent such a deal, he could face 160 years in jail.
 
The man who died that day was Ezekial Roberts, a 21-year-old relative of Hartford Police Chief Daryl Roberts.  At the time, the chief said that city was struggling with a problem of street gangs – groups of young men who used to settle disputes with fights and who now were settling them with guns.
 
When police arrested Ledbetter, they said he was a known member of the city’s West Hell street gang.
 
Ledbetter pleaded guilty to all charges under the Alford doctrine.  That means he isn’t admitting guilt, but he is conceding that the state would likely convict him at trial.  
 
At court Thursday, his mother declined to comment.  A woman who said she was his aunt told WNPR that Ledbetter was innocent.
 
“What you going to put in?  He not guilty and y’all trying to railroad him?  He not guilty. He didn’t do that.”
 
Ledbetter is scheduled to be sentenced August 17.
 
For WNPR, I’m Jeff Cohen.