Plea falls through: Attorney for teen held in shooting says she wishes he would have taken deal

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Shavonne Potts
A Salisbury teen refused to accept a plea agreement Thursday on charges he faces in the 2007 shooting death of Treasure Feamster.
Reginald Terrell Leach, 18, stood up in Rowan County Superior Court and told Judge Calvin Murphy of Charlotte he was not going to take the plea.
Leach was charged in March 2007 with first-degree murder and recently was indicted by a grand jury on a charge of felony inciting to riot. Feamster, 13, was shot and killed outside the J.C. Price American Legion Post following a party there March 16, 2007.
“I didn’t do it. I’d rather go back to my cell,” Leach said.
He turned to tell his mother he loved her. She yelled back that she was glad he was not taking a plea deal.
The Rowan County District Attorney’s Office was going to reduce the first-degree murder charge to second-degree murder and consolidate the rioting charge. An unrelated charge of possession of a stolen vehicle was also to be consolidated.
Leach would most likely have served at least 15 years.
Feamster, a Knox Middle School student, was attempting to leave a teen party at the Legion Post when she was shot.
The party ended after an argument inside turned violent, and several shots were fired outside. Police say Feamster was caught in the crossfire, and police arrested Leach at a home in East Spencer nearly a week later.
Authorities have said the argument at the party started between rival gangs. Witnesses who attended the party said they heard people inside the Legion Post shouting “Eastside” and “Westside.”
Rowan District Attorney Bill Kenerly explained to Judge Murphy he’d originally scheduled a jury trial May 11 for the matter.
There were some witnesses he informed not to appear.
Leach’s attorney, Nancy Gaines, cried after Leach turned down the agreement. She said she regretted her client’s decision.
She said it took two weeks to set up some of her interviews and witnesses.
The judge told Kenerly and Gaines they probably wouldn’t have adequate time to be ready for trial.
Neither Gaines nor Kenerly spoke to a Post reporter. Gaines’ staff said she does not talk about pending cases.
Before the hearing began, Gaines and Leach met for nearly an hour behind closed doors. A few minutes later, he turned down the plea agreement.
Feamster’s father, Kenneth Hosch, said after the hearing he was upset and surprised by Leach’s actions.
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“I didn’t expect it. I expected a conviction for the person who killed my child,” he said.
Hosch said his family members keep “putting our life on hold over violence that happened in our community.”
Five others were charged with involvement in the incident. Three have yet to face charges, one has served his time and another is currently serving time in prison.
Damarcus Antonio Rich-ardson, now 21, is serving a five-month sentence for assaulting a sheriff’s deputy in January while in the county jail. His charge of accessory after the fact of murder is set for a May 11 court date, according to court records.
Alvin Deon Harrell was convicted in December 2007 for inciting to riot. He was sentenced to 12-15 months at the conclusion of a sentence he was already serving. He is currently serving a nearly three-year sentence for a 2005 statutory rape charge.
John Calvin Sifford, now 21, is also awaiting a May 11 court appearance for accessory after the fact. Records show he also faces a 2007 felony cocaine possession charge.
Patrick Antonio Hailey, 23, is awaiting charges he faces for felony inciting to riot. Court records show he’s scheduled for the same May 11 appearance.
He also has two traffic citations and a May 27 court date.
Elbert Leon Chambers III, 20, was convicted of felony rioting in September 2007 and released in February 2008.
Leach will turn 19 this month.