LOS ANGELES –
One of three people charged in the 2002 shooting death of actor
Merlin Santana pleaded guilty today to voluntary manslaughter and
assault with a deadly weapon, the District Attorney’s office
The plea by
Brandon Douglas Bynes, 25, came as jury selection was under way for
one of the co-defendants, said Deputy District Attorney Greg Dohi.
Bynes and the other two were to have one trial but separate juries
were to be impaneled.
is under way for co-defendant Damien Andre Gates, 21. After a jury
is selected for Gates, one will be picked for co-defendant Monique
his plea before Superior Court Judge Larry P. Fidler, who scheduled
sentencing for Feb. 10. The defendant is to receive a 23-year state
prison term, said Dohi.
said Bynes might be called as a witness at the trial of the other
Santana, 26, of
North Hollywood, was shot in the head and killed as he and a friend
were in a car leaving another man’s home in the Crenshaw District of
Los Angeles on Nov. 9, 2002. The complaint against Gates and Bynes
alleged that Gates fired a rifle and Bynes a handgun during the
attack on the co-star of television’s “Steve Harvey Show.”
King was charged
as an adult after the juvenile court last year found her unfit to be
tried as a juvenile. She and Gates are charged with one count each
of murder and attempted murder. Each faces a possible maximum term
of life in prison with the possibility of parole.
defendants have been in custody since their arrests shortly after