Two Boston men on Wednesday admitted guilt in connection with the 2011 shooting death of a 25-year-old man in Charlestown, Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley said in a press release Wednesday.
Jose Mercado, 21, of Jamaica Plain, and Prince Denis, 23, of Dorchester, pleaded guilty to charges of manslaughter, unlawful possession of a firearm and witness intimidation, according to the announcement.
The two men changed their pleas as the court was scheduled to begin selecting a jury for the trial of the first-degree murder of 25-year-old Willie Turner, who was killed on Bunker Hill Street in Charlestown on Nov. 29, 2011. Judge Dianne Kottmyer sentenced Mercado to 19 to 20 years in state prison, followed by four years of probation, and Denis to 15 years in prison followed by four years of probation, the DA's office said.
During a victim-impact statement in court, Turner's mother reportedly forgave both suspects in the case, according to the Boston Globe.
Prosecutors reportedly acknowledged that there were no witnesses to the 2011 shooting, and the murder weapon was never recovered; the case went uncharged for more than a year, and the two men were arrested in June 2012 on gun and drug charges in connection with Operation Tourniquet, a Charlestown-based sweep based on a series of coordinated undercover buys by Boston Police detectives and FBI special agents. Then in January 2013, after additional testimony before a grand jury, both men were indicted on charges of first-degree murder, according to the DA's office.