Two take plea deal in murder case

Published 9:49 am Thursday, May 7, 2015

Two of three people arrested in connection with a murder earlier this year pleaded guilty to reduced charges Wednesday in exchange for their testimony against the man who authorities say fired the fatal shot.

Nicole Eller, 30, of 37 Township Road 616 Apt. 9, South Point, and William Rice, 24, of 65 Township Road 510 N., South Point, appeared separately in Common Pleas Judge Charles Cooper’s courtroom and each pleaded guilty to a first-degree count of aggravated robbery. Those charges were reduced from counts of complicity to murder.

Eller also pleaded guilty to a third-degree count of obstruction of justice, while a count of tampering with evidence was dismissed.

Email newsletter signup

Rice’s counts of tampering with evidence and obstruction of justice were also dismissed.

Lawrence County Prosecuting Attorney Brigham Anderson said Eller and Rice were expected to give statements this week about the shooting, which would be used during the trial of Justin Wilson.

Wilson, 25, of 223 Township Road 1186, South Point, is expected to go to trial beginning Aug. 10 for the Jan. 13 murder of 30-year-old Justin Adams.

Wilson is accused of shooting Adams in the face following an alleged drug-related incident at Eller’s residence.

He was arrested in late January after about two weeks on the run from police.

In other cases:

• Emory Markel Jr., 35, of 1216 1/2 S. Ninth St., Ironton, pleaded guilty to three fourth-degree counts of aggravated trafficking in drugs. Cooper set sentencing for May 27.

• Autumn Edwards, 29, of 31 Township Road 287, Chesapeake, was arraigned on a second-degree count of complicity to burglary, to which she pleaded not guilty.

Cooper set bond at $50,000 cash or surety and $50,000 own-recognizance. A pretrial was set for May 13.

• William Robinson Jr., 28, of 253 Township Road 102, Ironton, was arraigned on a bill of information of fifth-degree breaking and entering, to which he pleaded guilty. Cooper set bond at $50,000 OR and set sentencing for May 13.

• Stephanie Martin, 42, of 20 Township Road 1039 Apt. 9, Chesapeake, was sentenced to four years in prison, a two-year driver’s license suspension and more than $16,000 in fines. She previously pleaded guilty to a first- and fifth-degree count of trafficking in heroin, as well as fourth-degree counts of complicity to trafficking in drugs and trafficking in marijuana.

• Kristen Easterling, 20, of 729 S. Ninth St. Apt. A, Ironton, was sentenced to three years in prison and more than $17,000 in fines. She previously pleaded guilty to three third-degree and one fourth-degree count of trafficking in drugs.