SE Mass Shootings Suspect Strikes Plea Deal

One of the suspects in the Southeast shootings that killed four and injured five last month pleaded guilty to five counts of murder Thursday afternoon.

Nathaniel Simms could receive a life sentence, but his cooperation with prosecutors and police likely means he'll avoid that. WTOP reported that he'll testify against the others involved.

Nathaniel Simms was allegedly in the back seat of a van, armed with an AK-47. He and others opened fire, as part of a series of retaliation attacks over a missing bracelet.

Five people have been charged in the case. Last week, charging documents for three suspects suggested Simms, 26, might be cooperating with police. Those documents included statements by "Witness #8," who described being involved in the March 22 slaying of Jordan Howe and the March 30 shootings believed to be the last in a cycle of retaliation. The affidavit didn't identify "Witness #8" and but didn't mention Simms by name, either.

Simms and Orlando Carter were arrested March 30 after the shootings. Robert Bost and Lamar Williams were arrested April 22 and charged the following day. Bost is believed to have shot Tavon Nelson prior to the drive-by, then got into the minivan that proceeded to the scene of the drive-by on South Capitol Street, according to court documents. Williams allegedly provided the shotgun used in the Howe slaying and the AK-47 used in the drive-by but was not in the minivan.

Jeffrey Best, 21, was arrested Monday morning. He is accused of participating in the shooting of Nelson as well as the drive-by.

Simms is being held apart from other prisoners for his safety. His attorneys asked that Simms be allowed to wear a hood in court Thursday, but the judge denied that request.

Charges against a 14-year-old once believed to be the driver were dismissed on fingerprint evidence and conflicting stories last week.

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