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Though a jury was about to be selected and a plethora of witnesses were ready to take the stand, a Lancaster woman decided to plead guilty Monday, Jan. 27, to her role in the case of a man shot to death during a botched robbery early last year.
Ketta Tomaka Evans, 34, 715 St. Paul St., pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery sometime after 9:30 a.m. Monday, said Sixth Circuit Solicitor Doug Barfield.
Evans was originally charged with murder and attempted armed robbery in the shooting death of 32-year old Kershaw native Kevisis Anthony who died Jan. 28, 2013.
“We worked out a plea arrangement with her, with help from the victim’s family, the police department and everyone else involved,” Barfield said. “So she pleaded guilty to the attempted armed robbery charge.”
Circuit Court Judge Eugene Griffith immediately sentenced Evans to seven years in prison, though she was given credit for time served.
She has been in jail since her arrest last February.
“This is classified as a violent offense, a ‘most serious’ offense and a ‘no parole’ offense, which means she must serve 85 percent of the sentence,” Barfield said.
Evans’ codefendant David Jamarcus Stalk, 24, 415 E. Dunlap St., was found guilty of murder, attempted armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime in the case, and was sentenced to 45 years in prison earlier this month.
Police first responded at about 9:41 p.m. Jan. 26, 2013, to the area of St. Paul and Pleasant Hill streets about a report of shots fired, according to a Lancaster Police Department press release.
At first, officers did not find anything, though they later learned a gunshot victim had arrived at the Springs Memorial Hospital emergency room. There, they found Anthony, who had been shot once in the back of the head, as well as a woman who drove him to the emergency room.
Anthony was flown to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, where he died two days later.
By Feb. 11, both Stalk and Evans were jailed on charges of murder and attempted armed robbery in Anthony’s death, according to a police release sent shortly after the arrests.
In the release, police said Anthony was the intended target of a robbery.
“Evans and Stalk devised a place to rob Mr. Anthony after Evans informed Stalk that she knew him and believed he would have some money and other valuables in his possession,” the release said.
Police say Evans allegedly lured Anthony to her home under false pretenses, where Stalk tried to rob him with a handgun, the release said.
When Anthony tried to run, Stalk shot at him several times, striking him once in the back of the head. Stalk ran from the scene, though he was the only person to call 911, the release said.
“Evans and her son took Mr. Anthony inside her residence and attempted to treat his wound,” the release said, though Evans eventually drove Anthony to the hospital.
Closing the case
Though Evans decided to forgo a trial and plead guilty, Barfield said she did not explain her motivation before being sentenced on Monday morning.
The case had been expected to last several days this week and feature testimony from a number of witnesses.
“We had people ready to go,” Barfield said. “We did qualify a jury and were gonna pick a jury today. Then we were going to start calling witnesses tomorrow (Tuesday). We had them all lined up to come and then I spent the last 45 minutes telling them all not to come anymore.”
With both codefendants now behind bars and the case closed, Barfield said Anthony’s family members were glad not to have to sit through a second trial.
“The family was real pleased about that,” he said.
The quick sentencing was also meaningful as the trial would have taken place during the one-year anniversary of Anthony’s death.
“It’s always great to close out a file, but there’s always another one right behind it,” Barfield said.
Contact reporter Chris Sardelli at (803) 416-8416