Mercer man pleads to reduced charge in athlete's shooting death - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Mercer man pleads to reduced charge in athlete's shooting death

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MERCER COUNTY, Pennsylvania - A Mercer County man will be sentenced in September for the shooting death of a Sharon High School athlete.

On Thursday, 20 year old Jontae Barnes pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and possessing a firearm without a license.

Barnes was originally charged with criminal homicide for the January shooting death of 17-year-old Leangelo Ford at a Party in Sharon.

A court dismissed the criminal homicide charge, and instead charged Barnes with third degree murder. 

A statement released by Mercer County  District Attorney Robert Kochems outlined several reasons for agreeing to a pleading on the reduced charge, including the difficulty in proving murder in the third degree beyond a reasonable doubt.

Barnes claims the gun fired when Ford pulled the weapon from his hand.

The District Attorney is recommending that Mr. Barnes receive a maximum county jail sentence of approximately 2 years for the charge of involuntary manslaughter and then a maximum consecutive probationary sentence of 7 years for the possession of the firearm without a license.

 Barnes will be sentenced  on September 4.
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