A 17-year-old boy accused of helping his friends kidnap an elderly woman has pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against his co-defendants.
Phillip Brewer was arrested March 20 and charged with first-degree carjacking, first-degree kidnapping and two counts of second-degree conspiracy for the kidnapping of 89-year-old Margaret Smith.
Police say Junia McDonald, 14, and Jackeline Perez, 15, hitched a ride with Smith before stealing her car keys and $500, and forcing her into the trunk of her car for two days without food or water.
According to police, Phillip and Rondaiges Harper joined Junia and Jackeline on the joyride after Smith had been forced into the trunk.
Smith was found wandering in a cemetery March 20, where police say the juveniles left her and drove away in her Buick Le Sabre.
Junia and Jackeline were charged with one count each of first-degree carjacking, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree robbery and three counts of second-degree conspiracy. Harper, now 18, faced the same charges as Phillip - first-degree carjacking, first-degree kidnapping and two counts of second-degree conspiracy.
Phillip pleaded guilty to second-degree carjacking, second-degree kidnapping and second-degree conspiracy before Judge Richard F. Stokes Sept. 5 at Sussex County Superior Courthouse in Georgetown.
Phillip's attorney, Andre Beauregard, said the state has agreed to dismiss the remaining charges against Phillip.
State attorney Melanie Withers, who is prosecuting the case against all four defendants, said Phillip signed a cooperation agreement with the state. Withers said she anticipates Phillip will testify as a state's witness in any hearings or trials involved with the case.
Withers asked that Stokes refrain from sentencing Phillip until his three co-defendants' cases are complete. The truthfulness of his testimony will impact the state's position on his sentence, she said.
Stokes agree to wait to sentence Phillip. He told Phillip he faces up to 22 years in prison for the crimes he has pleaded guilty to, regardless of his cooperation with the state.
Phillip wore a white Department of Correction jumpsuit, and his hands and feet were shackled during the court proceeding. Beauregard told Stokes Phillip's mother was not in the courtroom.
A May arraignment for Junia had been rescheduled by Stokes because her mother did not show up.
Beauregard said Phillip has been treated as a adult throughout the proceedings, and his mother was also absent when Phillip entered his not guilty plea in May.
Phillips was on probation at the time of Smith's kidnapping. Beauregard said in pleading guilty, Phillip admits to also violating his probation.
Phillip cast a quick glance into the small courtroom gallery - populated only by a handful of translators and court employees - before he was escorted out of the courtroom.