A Maryland man was sentenced Monday to 13 years in the death of a Prince George's County police officer during a high-speed pursuit, and for a witness intimidation charge that followed.
Kevon Darnell Neal of Fort Washington pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter in the death of Officer Adrian Morris, 23, whose cruiser crashed during a chase.
Neal went on trial in January in Morris' death, but the case ended in a mistrial. Prosecutors said that during his trial, Neal sent a letter from jail soliciting a hit against a witness who testified.
Neal also pleaded guilty Monday to one count of witness intimidation.
That witness had been expected to testify at Neal's retrial, but Neal's plea Monday eliminates the need for a second trial.
On Aug. 20, 2012, Morris and another officer were called to a gas station in Laurel, Maryland after witnesses said two people had tried to open the doors of a customer's car.
While investigating, the officers spotted a silver Acura that matched witnesses' descriptions. As the officers pursued the vehicle on Interstate 95, their cruiser left the road and came to rest in a ditch. Morris was ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at an area hospital.
"When you lose a police officer, especially in this type of senseless death, you feel in your heart," retired police officer Dan Morris said at Morris' funeral.
Authorities said that during the pursuit, Neal was driving the silver Acura, which had been stolen. Police said he was driving fast and cutting through traffic, forcing several cars to swerve out of the way.
The Acura was later found in Southeast D.C. Neal's passenger, Kenneth Clark Mitchell, 25, of Northeast D.C., was arrested and charged with auto theft within a day of the crash.
Neal turned himself in to police three days after the crash.
After arguments had concluded in Neal's trial in January, a juror told the judge during deliberations that judging others was a violation of her religion as a Jehovah's Witness. Prince George's County State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said during that jury selection, every juror had been asked whether they would be unable to serve because of their religion, and the juror in question did not mention her religion.
While Neal was awaiting a retrial, authorities announced in May that they were bringing some new charges against him involving witness retaliation and obstruction of justice.
Prosecutors said they planned to consolidate the witness retaliation charges with the earlier charges.
"His actions two years ago caused the death of Adrian Morris." -Chief Magaw re: Kevon Neal. Sentenced to 13 yrs. pic.twitter.com/4XiuzM8805
— PGPDNEWS (@PGPDNews) June 9, 2014
The Associated Press contributed to this report.