Crime

Getaway driver in stray-bullet killing of Miami boy gets five years in prison

Leonard Adams, 20, the getaway driver in the 2016 killing of 6-year-old King Carter, has pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and will testify against the suspected gunman.
Leonard Adams, 20, the getaway driver in the 2016 killing of 6-year-old King Carter, has pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and will testify against the suspected gunman. mhalper@miamiherald.com

The getaway driver in the murder of a 6-year-old Miami-Dade boy, who was shot dead as he walked to a corner store to buy candy, has pleaded guilty and will serve five years in prison.

Leonard Adams, 20, pleaded guilty late Friday to third-degree murder for his role in the stray-bullet death of King Carter. He’ll also have to serve one year of house arrest and perform 100 hours of community service.

“Leonard did not have a gun. He did not fire a shot,” said his defense attorney, David Ranck, adding: “This was a very good resolution for both the state and Leonard.”

The man accused of being the shooter, Irwen Pressley, 20, is the lone defendant awaiting trial.

King’s murder in February 2016 galvanized community leaders and activists in a case that was one of a string of killings of young people in Miami-Dade’s most impoverished neighborhoods. His father, Santonio Carter, become a prominent voice against youth violence. County leaders even named a street outside the Blue Lake Village Apartments, where King was killed, in the boy’s honor.

Prosecutors say Adams drove Pressley and Tamar Teems, now 18, to the apartment complex as they hunted a rival in February 2016.

Pressley jumped out and began firing at the young man, Juwuan “Juju” Ray, who ran upstairs and returned fire, according to police. Others in the complex also shot back. A stray bullet killed King.

Adams, behind the wheel of the getaway car, got shot and wounded in the neck. The teens escaped and Adams briefly went to a hospital. Miami-Dade homicide detectives arrested the trio days later.

Teems, who had a gun but claimed it jammed upon firing, pleaded guilty earlier this year and was also sentenced to five years in state prison. He may be called to testify.

Although Adams gave authorities a sworn account of what happened that day, prosecutors agreed to not call him to testify against Pressley, his lawyer said.

The plea deal will also help Adams’ mother, who was arrested weeks after the shooting for trying to get rid of the car used in the killing. According to the plea deal, prosecutors won’t seek jail or prison time against Tameka Thompson if she pleads guilty to a count of tampering with evidence.

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