A security guard fatally gunned down during closing time at popular North Miami-Dade restaurant. A jogger shot to death in Coral Gables. Three people shot and wounded during a violent robbery at a Delray Beach pizzeria.
The driver in that string of South Florida crimes pleaded guilty Monday to the two murder charges, avoiding the death penalty — and setting up testimony at trial against his one-time pal, accused gunman Kendrick Silver.
Oniel Pedley, 27, agreed to serve 40 years behind bars. He may never get out or prison anyway. He’s already doing a life sentence for the 2007 take-over style robbery at Picasso's Pizza in Delray.
“I got blinded by greed,” Pedley told Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ellen Sue Venzer on Monday. “I was motivated to do what I thought was right at the time. And it wasn’t.”
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Venzer called the crime spree “incomprehensible.”
Pedley will now be a key witness against Silver, the accused gunman in both Miami-Dade murders. He faces the death penalty and is scheduled to go to trial later this month.
Prosecutors believe that Silver and Pedley committed several other robberies, crimes for which they have not yet been charged.
Pedley and Silver both worked at the popular North Miami restaurant Esther’s, 777 NW 103rd St., where they are believed to have targeted 62-year-old security guard Solmeus Accimeus. He was shot to death outside his car at the restaurant on the night of Dec. 16, 2006.
Then, prosecutors say, the pair targeted Jose Marchese-Berrios, 39, a maintenance man who was out for an evening jog in May 2007.
Bloodied and mortally wounded by a bullet wound, he staggered back to his tiny second-floor Coral Gables apartment — dying in the arms of his teenage son.
At the time, his was the first murder in Coral Gables in three years.
“They preyed upon unsuspecting people,” prosecutor Gail Levine told the judge on Monday.
Miami-Dade detectives realized the jogger’s stolen phone was still in use, and one of the numbers it had been calling belonged to Silver's sister, according to court documents. The phone was later found in the possession of Silver's girlfriend.
Both men ultimately confessed to their roles in the murder of Marchese-Berrios, police said.
The third violent crime unfolded in June 2007 when Silver and Pedley — wielding pistols and an assault-style rifle — stormed the Delray pizzeria at closing time, ordering one employee to take money from a safe. Silver had been an employee of the restaurant and knew the business’ closing-time routines.
The men opened fire when employees tried running off, hitting three. All survived. After a 9-hour manhunt, police found the pair hiding on a boat docked behind a Delray home.
During Pedley’s trial in Palm Beach County in 2010, he abruptly fired his lawyer mid-trial. Then, Pedley delivered a rambling closing argument insisting he never actually went inside the pizzeria and never knew Silver had any weapons.
Jurors swiftly convicted him of attempted murder and other felonies.