04/24/12 — Plea deal gives account of night of alleged crime

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Plea deal gives account of night of alleged crime

By Kenneth Fine And Gary Popp
Published in News on April 24, 2012 1:46 PM

It was nearly midnight Aug. 18, 2008, when three men wearing bandannas over their faces entered the Brookside Convenient Mart on South Slocumb Street.

Within moments, store owner Ribhi Mohammed Kandeel was on the floor -- fighting for his life after suffering a gunshot wound to the back.

Kandeel spoke to law enforcement officials from Pitt Memorial Hospital, the facility he was airlifted to from Wayne County, a few days after the incident.

This, according to court documents, is what he told them.

The men asked Kandeel for a T-shirt and he turned around to get one.

That's when the shot rang out.

One of the men approached the store owner, kicked him in the face and said, "I think he's dead."

But when he did, his bandanna slipped off his face.

Kandeel said he got a good look at the perpetrator and would identify him as Rashard Vondarius Oliver.

"That's him. I'm positive," Kandeel told investigators. "I'm absolutely sure that is him."

The men left the store with $760 worth of phonecards, $3,000 cash and a .45-caliber pistol Kandeel kept in the store.

Kandeel "played dead" until first responders arrived.

He was transported to Wayne Memorial Hospital before being airlifted to Pitt.

Oliver would, in August 2010, take an Alford Plea for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, inflicting serious injury -- in an Alford Plea, the criminal defendant does not admit the act, but admits that the prosecution could likely prove the charge. It allows the defendant to plead guilty even while unable or unwilling to admit guilt.

But when Kandeel died from wounds suffered in the shooting, the charge was upgraded to first-degree murder.

-- Information for this report was obtained from transcripts of Oliver's Alford plea deal.