Horton accepts second-degree murder plea

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 7, 2007

WINTON – It was over before a single shred of evidence was presented.

A murder trial being heard here this week in Hertford County Criminal Superior Court ended Tuesday just after the jury was seated. There, J. Hackney High, an Edenton attorney representing Derrick Horton of Newport News, Va., entered a guilty plea for his client.

Horton was on trial for allegedly murdering Bobby Lee Harrell Jr. of Ahoskie on Sept. 30, 2003.

In the agreement, Horton pled guilty to second degree murder and was sentenced by Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Cy Grant to 220-to-273 months in prison. The plea arrangement also caused Horton to receive active prison sentences of 103-to-133 months for armed robbery, an identical time behind bars for attempted armed robbery and another 16-to-20 months for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

All totaled, Horton was sentenced to a prison term of no less than 36 years and no more than 48 years.

District 6B Attorney Valerie Mitchell Asbell and assistant DA Assata Buffaloe handled the state prosecution in the case.

Harrell, 19 at the time of his death, was shot and killed shortly past 12 noon on Sept. 30 in the area of First and Maple streets in Ahoskie. There, a witness said two black males exited a car and approached several men, including Harrell, standing alongside the street. It was reported in court on Monday that a possible drug deal was involved prior to allegations that Horton, along with Latif Ivan Irby, also of Newport News, Va., produced handguns and discharged those weapons.

Apparently, one of the bullets struck Powell as he attempted to flee. He later died as result of a gunshot wound to his upper chest.

The shooting suspects left the crime scene by a vehicle, but were arrested a short time later in Ahoskie following a high-speed chase.

On Tuesday, Irby accepted a plea of second degree murder in the case. He was sentenced by Judge Grant to 157-to-198 months in prison.