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NEW CASTLE Suspect opts for deal after string of crimes



Published: Tue, June 19, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The man pleaded guilty in a shooting, a car wreck and an illegal drug sale.

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- A man facing up to 165 years in prison on charges stemming from three separate crimes opted for a plea agreement that will reduce his stay behind bars to a maximum of 14 years.

Fletcher Hudson Jr., 22, of Cunningham Avenue pleaded guilty Monday to a string of charges stemming from a February 2000 shooting, and a car accident and a drug arrest in March.

Hudson now faces a maximum of 14 years in prison under the guidelines explained at a hearing before Judge Dominick Motto of Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.

A sentencing date has not been set.

Guilty plea: Hudson agreed to plead guilty to recklessly endangering another person and carrying a firearm without a license in the Feb. 13, 2000, shooting that injured Carlos Thompson of New Castle.

Thompson was shot in the stomach by Hudson and spent several weeks recovering in St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown.

Police said Hudson shot Thompson after watching Thompson shoot and kill William Matthews, also of New Castle, on Pine Street. Thompson and Matthews were fighting over $40 Thompson owed Matthews.

Thompson pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter last month and was sentenced to six to 12 years in prison for Matthews' death.

Some charges dropped: In exchange for Hudson's guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop charges of aggravated assault, attempted criminal homicide and discharging a firearm in the city.

Hudson also pleaded guilty to accidents involving death or injury and driving without a license in a March 7 car accident that injured several other people.

And he pleaded guilty to one count of delivery of crack cocaine in a March 30 arrest. Prosecutors said he tried to sell crack cocaine to an undercover police officer.




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