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Man Pleads Guilty in Cop-Shooting Case

Almost a year to the day a Fayetteville police officer was shot during a traffic stop, one of the men charged in the case pleaded guilty to federal weapons charges, authorities said.

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Steven Bethea, Robert Taylor
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Almost a year to the day a Fayetteville police officer was shot during a traffic stop, one of the men charged in the case pleaded guilty to federal weapons charges, authorities said.

Steven Craig Bethea, 40, of Dorchester Drive in Fayetteville, pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm in a conspiracy to commit robbery and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He will be sentenced later.

Bethea and Robert Hampton Taylor, 52, of Newport Road in Fayetteville, have been accused of trying to rob Kato Bingo Hall, on Yadkin Road. Officer Douglas Austin pulled them over in a traffic stop on Jack's Ford Road last March 26, authorities said, and one of the men shot Austin in the chest and beat on him before a Fort Bragg soldier who lived nearby heard the commotion and came to Austin's aid.

Austin is the son of Fayetteville City Councilwoman Lois Kirby. His father is a baseball coach at Methodist University.

Taylor faces federal and state charges in the case.

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