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Spinks pleads guilty, gets life

In a surprise move, Shameik Spinks entered a guilty plea Monday in Lamar County superior court to the December 2010 home invasion murder of Danavan Bussey. *************** ©The Herald Gazette/ This information may not be reprinted, broadcast or distributed electronically in any form or fashion without express consent. For reprint permission, e-mail *************** Bussey, a Gordon College student, was shot and killed during a party at a home he rented on Westchester Drive. Spinks pleaded guilty to one count of felony murder just before jury selection for his trial began. He had had multiple previous opportunities to accept a plea deal. ”I accepted his plea because he did apologize to the victim’s family,” Judge Tommy Wilson said. Judge Wilson sentenced Spinks to life in prison but did not specify if or when he would be eligible for parole. Spinks admitted his role in the home invasion and the fact he was wielding a 12 gauge shotgun. He said he and Bussey wrestled for the weapon and he pulled the trigger. The shotgun blast struck Bussey in the face and he died a short time later. With Spinks’ plea in place, jury selection began for the trial of codefendant Lakievius Eleby. Spinks is expected to testify Eleby, his cousin, did not participate in the home invasion and subsequent shooting. That will set up a courtroom showdown between Spinks and a third codefendant, Bryce Arsenio Smith, who accepted a plea deal last year. As part of that deal, Smith must testify against Eleby. Eleby appeared in court in a white shirt buttoned to his neck but no tie. He was wearing a blue blazer. Voir dire of the jury panel began at 10:45 a.m. and was moving slowly with multiple excusals. Assistant district attorney Scott Johnston said the trial could run over into next week. Defense attorney Pam Bettis told potential jurors it could take four to six days. Johnston told the jury pool Bussey was a typical college student. ”He was like most college students, he partied. I think the evidence will show he was selling a little marijuana. He was not an angel and we are not going to make him out to be an angel,” Johnston said.

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