Columbia man pleads guilty in connection to fatal shooting

Tuesday, September 8, 2009 | 7:23 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — A Columbia man became on Tuesday the third person to plead guilty in connection with the fatal February shooting of Corey Brown in the parking lot of the Ballenger Liquor and C-Store. Andre Lee, 21, pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted robbery and armed criminal action.

Lee is one of six people charged in the crime, a drug setup that ended in a shootout.

The attempted robbery charge carries a sentence of five to 15 years, and the armed criminal action charge carries three years to life.

According to a probable cause statement, Lee — along with Brown and Ashtin Weger, 19 — was supposed to bring $2,100 to buy marijuana from Bradley Enyart, 17, in the liquor store parking lot at 2201 Ballenger Lane.

Neither party brought money or drugs — instead, the groups planned to rob each other, police said.

Shortly after Weger, Brown and Lee arrived, a Jeep pulled up, according to the statement. Enyart exited and fired a handgun at the men, and they returned fire. Brown was shot in the abdomen and pelvic area and was later pronounced dead at University Hospital.

In June, Lee pleaded not guilty to first-degree robbery and second-degree murder. Defense attorney Gerald Mueller wouldn't say Tuesday whether Lee made a plea agreement with the state.

Lee made an open plea, which means the sentence will be left up to the judge. Sentencing is set for Nov. 2.

Also charged in the shooting were Weger, Nick Weavers, 21, Michael McHenry, 17, and Nikolaus Wadlow, 16, who was charged as a minor but later certified as an adult.

Weavers pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery on Aug. 17 as part of a plea agreement with the state. He will receive 12 years. Wadlow also pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted robbery on June 1.

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