12/15/06 — Man pleads guilty to manslaughter

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Man pleads guilty to manslaughter

By Lee Williams
Published in News on December 15, 2006 1:45 PM

A 21-year-old Goldsboro resident accused of killing a man in the Waffle House parking lot on Wayne Memorial Drive pleaded guilty to a lesser charge today in Wayne County Superior Court.

Shawn Naurice Holmes originally faced a first-degree murder charge in connection with the Feb. 19, 2005 death of LaShonnie Maurice Howell.

Howell, 33, of John Court, was allegedly shot twice in the restaurant parking lot at about 3:30 a.m. Howell, the father of six children, was taken to Wayne Memorial Hospital, where he later died.

After reaching a plea agreement with the Wayne County District Attorney's Office, Holmes pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter.

Wayne County Superior Court Judge Russell Lanier Jr. sentenced Holmes to serve 60 to 81 months in prison. He will receive credit for time served.

Holmes was represented by attorney Geoff Hulse, who said the fact that authorities could not prove that Holmes was the shooter played a large factor in the plea agreement.

"He was out there. He didn't shoot the gun. There were witnesses that said he did shoot the gun and there were witnesses that said he didn't. It would have been a messy case," Hulse said. "I think it was a good resolution."

Hulse said although Holmes took the plea deal he still maintained his innocence.