Man pleads guilty in deputy's death
Posted December 3, 2008
Updated December 5, 2008
Warrenton, N.C. — A man has been sentenced to at least 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to killing an off-duty Warren County deputy more than two years ago.
Montellus Burchette pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the Sept. 5, 2006, shooting death of Deputy Michael Leonforte. He was sentenced to consecutive sentences of 160 to 201 months in prison on the two charges.
Investigators said they believe Leonforte was heading home when he drove up to two men standing in the road. The men tried to rob Leonforte after he stopped, and they shot him, authorities said.
Leonforte's family said they were stunned by the plea, which occurred during a scheduled pretrial hearing. They said they disagreed with the prosecutor's decision to accept the defense attorney's offer of a plea, saying Leonforte deserved to have the case go to trial.
Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against Quante Seward, who was arrested with Burchette the day after Leonforte's death.