Local News

Third Plea Comes in Ambush Slaying

Posted October 3, 2007 3:39 p.m. EDT

— A third person pleaded guilty Wednesday afternoon in connection with the slaying of a Durham man, who police said was lured to a wooded area and shot in the head.

Nicole L. Smith, 18, who was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Adam Christopher Lutz, pleaded guilty to a lesser felony charge of conspiracy to commit armed robbery in exchange for her testimony in the murder trials of two other men charged in the case.

Authorities said Smith lured Lutz, 20, to the wooded area near her neighborhood to obtain the prescription pain killer Percocet. There, two other men – Michael Harrison Hunt Jr. and Tyrone Lamont Baker, both 20 – were waiting to shoot him.

Investigators said the motive was an ongoing dispute between Lutz and Hunt.

Hunt and Baker are expected to go on trial in the spring.

Smith faces a maximum sentence of 98 months in prison when she is sentenced, which likely would come after the trials for Hunt and Baker. But authorities said she could wind up with a probation sentence, based on her cooperation with the prosecution.

On Tuesday, Janeen Webb, 17, and Stephen Kyle Knight, 20, pleaded guilty to a felony obstruction of justice charge in the case for carrying away Hunt and Baker in a getaway car.

Webb, Smith and Knight will be sentenced after Hunt's and Baker's murder trials. Webb and Knight could each face a maximum of 30 months in jail, the judge said.