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  1. #1
    Pinki's Avatar
    Pinki is offline Sergeant
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    Plea deal for murder of deputy..

    This is my area..next County over.. typical...

    Family unhappy with plea deal in Leonforte murder

    BY DAVID IRVINE
    DAILY DISPATCH WRITER
    WARRENTON – In a court hearing on Monday, Montellus Dyshawn Burchette entered pleas of guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting death of Deputy Sheriff Michael Leonforte in September 2006. Burchette was originally charged with first-degree murder, for which he could have received a death sentence or life imprisonment.
    Leonforte’s widow, Cynthia Qiu Leonforte, said the family was shocked at the decision.
    She, Leonforte’s mother Ellen and brother Stephen attended the hearing. According to Cynthia Leonforte, “We were not aware that there was a plea on the table until we got to the court room.” She said the family would rather have had the case go to trial.
    District Attorney Samuel B. Currin III explained why his office accepted the plea put forward by defense attorneys Thomas Manning and Steven Decillis. “Had the jury returned a verdict of guilty of second degree murder, with his background he might have gotten 12 to 15 years,” he said. “He was only 18 years old when he com*mitted the crime.” Currin ex*plained that Burchette’s record of prior convictions showed only minor offenses, which might not have warranted a heavier sentence.
    A second suspect in the case, Quante Ali Seward, is being tried separately. A court date has not been set for him.
    Leonforte was accosted by Burchette and Seward on the outskirts of Norlina as he was driving home on Sept. 5, 2006.
    What appeared to be a robbery attempt ended with a shooting that left Leonforte dead at the age of 30.
    Micheal and Cynthia Leonforte had moved to North Carolina from New York City in 2005. Michael was a aerospace engineer working for Pratt and Whitney. Cynthia worked for MetLife. They liked the lifestyle they found in Norlina and gave up their positions to move to the area.
    The family released the fol-

    lowing statement after the court decision: “We came to the courthouse today with the intention of attending a hearing of the pre-trial motions related to Montellus Burchette; the trial date for him is set for May 4th, 2009. Minutes before the hearing started, we were told by the DA’s office there’s a plea of 30 years from the defense attorneys who represent Burchette and the DA had decided to accept it right away.
    “The family unanimously disagrees with taking a plea for such a ruthless murder with an overwhelming amount of evidence. Had it been our decision to make, we would have pursued this to the end – a trial by a jury which we believe Michael deserves. Also had we known the gravity of what transpired today, we would have been accompanied by well over 200 family members and friends, especially Michael’s older brother David Leonforte and friends in Warren County.
    “We are still in a state of shock of what has happened today, however, the surprise was shared by Michael’s fellow law enforcement officers. It is very comforting to hear the admiration they had for Michael, some of whom had never even met him.”
    In a telephone interview, Michael Leonforte’s mother, Ellen, reinforced the statement. “We have faith in the justice system.
    If we had known this was more than a pre-trial hear*ing, we would have had more family there. We are a very close-knit family.”
    When asked his reac*tions, Sheriff Johnnie Williams said, “My staff and I did our job and got it into the court system. Then it’s up to the district attorney.
    I accept his decision.”
    When pressed further, he said, “I support what the family supports. If the family is pleased, I’m pleased.”
    Cynthia told how she and Michael had engaged in a shuttle romance between China and New York City after they met in 1999. After several trips in both directions, they decided to marry. It took some time to obtain her immigration status. They had been married just under four years when Michael was killed.
    In a written statement, Cynthia said: “I am very blessed with the time I spent with my husband Michael Leonforte, he totally changed me by showing me that unconditional love and unselfishness is possible and he set the best example throughout his short 30 years of life, leaving a mark on everyone who knew him, with his principles, values and desires to pursue his dreams.
    It has been 2 years and 3 months. I, nor the family, realized that we would ever have the closure on his horrific death but to carry on his spirit and love within our heart and to spread the wonderful gift he left for us, that is how beautiful a life could be.”
    http://www.hendersondispatch.com/ee/...e=art&index=02
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  2. #2
    Pinki's Avatar
    Pinki is offline Sergeant
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    BTW, he wasn't armed..
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  3. #3
    BigDawg's Avatar
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    That sounds typical for NC and most of the justice systems in this country.


    Pathetic
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  4. #4
    Pinki's Avatar
    Pinki is offline Sergeant
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDawg View Post
    That sounds typical for NC and most of the justice systems in this country.


    Pathetic

    It is pathetic and something needs to be done but Im not sure how to make anyone (the general public or more precisely the people in this area) care.
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  5. #5
    10-42Adam's Avatar
    10-42Adam is offline Major
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    Truly sad.

    The U.S. court/justice system needs a serious makeover...
    Calm Like A Bomb...

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  6. #6
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    sgtbear111 is offline retired
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    Many Prosecutors are "tough on crime" at election time. Some simply do not have the ability (experience or guts) to try a capital murder case.

    Some will come right out and say it: money. Their county budget is gone for trials, appeals, and all the 20+ years it takes to snuff this piece of crap. Facing off with money fom Hollywood, Willie Nelson, etc.... Some states provide AG resources and a few good US Attorneys have taken federal death cases where it can be done, when states had no death penalty or county had limited resources.

    Something tells me the US AG / DOJ is gonna "change" now that Janet Reno's #1 excuse maker for Waco and Ruby Ridge will be leading the show.

    MADD has been very effective with Prosecutors, Judges, and Legislators who go soft on DUI. So where are the big police groups, lobbyists, and unions ( the union leadership ) when this happens?
    Last edited by sgtbear111; 12-04-08 at 01:10 AM. Reason: MADD
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  7. #7
    CTR man's Avatar
    CTR man is offline Officer First Class
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    Was this considered a Line Of Duty Death, Pinki?


    Choose The Right. When you're doing whats right, then you have nothing to worry about.

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  8. #8
    Pinki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CTR man View Post
    Was this considered a Line Of Duty Death, Pinki?

    I dont think so CTR... I dont know enough about law enforcement...but he had just been recently hired and was not allowed to carry a firearm yet. He was on his way back from law enforcement classes at the local community college and the badguys were blocking the road. He apparently wanted to get through and they shot him. I dont recall or know if there is more beyond that. From my recollection, I believe he was shot in his vehicle and didn't even get out of the car.
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  9. #9
    Pinki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgtbear111 View Post
    Many Prosecutors are "tough on crime" at election time. Some simply do not have the ability (experience or guts) to try a capital murder case.

    Some will come right out and say it: money. Their county budget is gone for trials, appeals, and all the 20+ years it takes to snuff this piece of crap. Facing off with money fom Hollywood, Willie Nelson, etc.... Some states provide AG resources and a few good US Attorneys have taken federal death cases where it can be done, when states had no death penalty or county had limited resources.

    Something tells me the US AG / DOJ is gonna "change" now that Janet Reno's #1 excuse maker for Waco and Ruby Ridge will be leading the show.

    MADD has been very effective with Prosecutors, Judges, and Legislators who go soft on DUI. So where are the big police groups, lobbyists, and unions ( the union leadership ) when this happens?

    I can't recall the details, but I remember our DUI convictions were incredibly low...something like 30 percent...because of plea deals... The sad thing is that the family didn't even know about the plea deal until they got to the court house...so they didn't have the people there that they could have had
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  10. #10
    lewisipso's Avatar
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    Have a trial for the murder of a law enforcement officer? How incredibly ridiculous! There are so many other extremely importmant issues that need to be addressed around the country to spend public tax money on. Like this for example...

    http://www.wmctv.com/Global/story.as...7917#poll75935

    Waaaaaa.....we don't have the money for a trial.
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  11. #11
    Pinki's Avatar
    Pinki is offline Sergeant
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    Quote Originally Posted by lewisipso View Post
    Have a trial for the murder of a law enforcement officer? How incredibly ridiculous! There are so many other extremely importmant issues that need to be addressed around the country to spend public tax money on. Like this for example...

    http://www.wmctv.com/Global/story.as...7917#poll75935

    Waaaaaa.....we don't have the money for a trial.


    Cant we put them on a chain gang to work to pay for those?
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