Man Enters Plea In Fatal Shooting Of High School Athlete

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A man charged with fatally shooting a West Virginia high school athlete a month before he graduated has agreed to a plea deal in the case.

Dekotis Elijah Thomas, 20, entered a Kennedy plea Wednesday, which means he did not admit guilt but agreed that the state has enough evidence for a conviction, news outlets reported.

Thomas was set to stand trial Monday on charges that included murder in the death of Kelvin “KJ” Taylor, 18, who was shot in the chest on April 7, 2021. Taylor had played football and basketball and was set to graduate from Capital High School the following month.

In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors dismissed three other counts related to Taylor's death and four counts in a separate case related to the 2019 death of Antwan Curnell, assistant Kanawha County prosecutor Adam Petry said.

Prosecutors won't take a position on whether Thomas should be eligible for parole when he is sentenced Nov. 7, Petry said.