A judge guaranteed Thursday that Bryan Charles Presley will serve a six-year prison sentence for his role in a Hudson motel slaying last year.
The sentence was expected, part of a plea agreement between Presley's attorney and prosecutors. It was clear the former football standout at Ridgewood High School, handcuffed and surrounded by fellow inmates, was grappling with his reality.
"I made a mistake, one mistake," he told Circuit Judge Stanley Mills. "I ask you not to destroy my life based on one mistake."
Without the deal, life could have been much tougher for the 19-year-old.
Authorities said Presley drove the getaway car after gunshots killed John Faulkner, 46, and critically injured Jessica Diaz, 26, over drugs at the West Side Efficiency Motel on June 29.
A grand jury indicted Presley and four men, Carlos Oscar Fuentes, Leonard Joseph Rera, Adam Jones and Anthony Vernon Ponds, on first-degree murder and attempted murder charges. Murder carries a penalty of life in prison.
In December, prosecutors allowed Presley to plead guilty to one count of accessory after the fact to a capital felony. He agreed to testify against his co-defendants in exchange for the sentence given to youthful offenders.
Still, he begged for mercy in court Thursday. Mills wasn't moved.
"There is going to be nothing but the six years," the judge said.
Presley didn't argue. "I just want the court to know," he said, "I truly apologize for the situation."
Colleen Jenkins covers courts in west Pasco County. She can be reached at (727) 869-6236 or firstname.lastname@example.org.