RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A third and final defendant has pleaded guilty in the killings of a teenage couple in an abandoned Air Force bunker in California’s Mojave Desert.
David Brian Smith’s guilty plea comes a week before opening statements were to begin in his trial for the 2008 killings, the Riverside Press-Enterprise (http://bit.ly/2cI21S0 ) reported Tuesday.
In a plea deal with prosecutors, he faces two terms of 25 years to life in prison, one for each victim.
Smith, 28, of Covina, is a former Eagle Scout and was a track athlete at the University of California, Riverside. He has already served nine years in jail and would be eligible for parole after 16 years.
Police and prosecutors say Smith and Collin Lee McGlaughlin forced 18-year-old Christopher Thompson and 16-year-old Bodhisattva Sherzer-Potter into the abandoned bunker near Barstow, forced them to their knees, and McGlaughlin shot them in the back of their heads. The teens had earlier been at a party at the bunker, which had become a popular hangout spot and has since been demolished.
Lorraine Sherzer, Sherzer-Potter’s mother, said she had received a call from prosecutors asking if she was OK with the plea bargain, and she said yes so she could bring the long legal process to an end.
“The wear and tear on my family has been devastating,” she told the Press-Enterprise. “I’m exhausted.”
Sherzer felt conflicted, however, because several charges including kidnapping were dropped, and because she had hoped the trial might bring out new information about her daughter’s killing.
“There will be things about her death I will never know because of the plea bargain,” She said.
In a deal that allowed him to avoid the death penalty, McGlaughlin pleaded guilty to six felonies in 2013 and is serving a life sentence with no parole.
Cameron Thomson, who served as the men’s lookout, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2011.
Information from: The Press-Enterprise, http://www.pe.com