Three plead guilty to Hillcrest apartment homicide

Published 3:39 pm Friday, September 23, 2016

Three of the four people charged with a 2014 attempted burglary turned homicide pleaded guilty Thursday morning to their roles.

Their expected pleas were mentioned a week ago during a motion hearing for the fourth suspect, Lillian Barnett, who allegedly drove 21-year-old Christopher Robinson, 26-year-old Aaron Stailey and 22-year-old Lamont Wilkerson to the Hillcrest Apartments on Oxford Drive on Dec. 23, 2014.

Thursday morning. Robinson, Stailey and Wilkerson told Clark Circuit Judge Jean Chenault Logue they planned to go to the apartment complex to rob people in apartment 47. All three said Barnett was with

Robinson, of Richmond, pleaded guilty to murder, first-degree burglary, first-degree assault and second-degree assault for the incident, which left Crayvone Richie and Justin Meadows wounded and 19-year-old Amber Caudill dead. Caudill was in the apartment below Meadows’ when a bullet came through the ceiling and killed her.

Stailey and Wilkerson each pleaded guilty to complicity to murder, complicity to first-degree burglary, complicity to first-degree assault and complicity to second-degree assault.

The three received similar sentences of 20 years for murder, burglary and one assault count, which will run concurrently. The second assault charge will run consecutively: 10 years for Robinson, seven for Wilkerson and five for Stailey.

They must serve 85 percent of the 20 years before they can meet the parole board and begin serving the other sentence, prosecutors said.

The plea agreements were the result of a felony mediation session. Barnett, who was in court for Wilkerson’s plea, was the only one of the four who could not reach an agreement. She is scheduled for a trial in January 2017.

Wilkerson said they used Barnett’s car to pick up Robinson and Stailey in Richmond that day, and that she knew about the planned robbery.

“We planned it out,” Robinson said. “They came and picked us up.”

“We arranged for a robbery to be set up and we went to Winchester,” Stailey said.

The firearms were transported in her car, Wilkerson said, and Barnett even provided the ski masks and drove him on a “dry run” prior to the incident. Before the actual incident, they went to Wilkerson’s home and gathered the weapons, ski masks and blue latex gloves, they said.

When they reached the apartment complex, they said Barnett stayed outside with the car running and the trunk open.

“We walked to the upstairs apartment,” Wilkerson said. “I knocked on the door. I covered the peephole. Meadows cracked the door. Robinson put the gun in the door.”

Robinson said he was first in line and tried to enter the apartment with an assault rifle.

“When I did, I get shot and that’s when the shootout started,” he said.

“When they did, Mr. Robinson pushed in,” Stailey said. “All I heard were gunshots.”

Police said Meadows was armed and returned fire. Meadows, Richie and Robinson were all wounded. Robinson said he was shot first.

During the gun fire, a bullet went through the floor of Meadows’ apartment and killed Caudill.

Stailey said they returned to the car, placing the guns in the trunk and helping Robinson get into the car. He said Barnett wanted to take Robinson to the hospital in Richmond, but Stailey said he insisted they go to Clark Regional Medical Center.

Stailey said he returned to Richmond and disposed of the guns: the assault rifle, a revolver and another handgun, in a dumpster.

All three are scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 3 in Clark Circuit Court.

Contact Fred Petke at fred.petke@winchestersun.com or follow him on Twitter, @FredPetkeNews.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@bluegrassnewsmedia.com or call 859-759-0051.

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