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Two more plead guilty in Brown shooting

Monday, September 21, 2009 | 9:56 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Two Columbia men pleaded guilty Monday to charges related to the February shooting of Corey Brown, 18, at the Ballenger Liquor and C-Store in northeast Columbia.

Only one of the six men charged in the slaying has not pleaded guilty. Bradley Enyart, 17, is charged with second-degree murder and first-degree attempted robbery. He is scheduled to stand trial in Callaway County after being granted a change of venue from Boone County.

Michael McHenry, 17, pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted robbery, changing the plea he entered when he was initially charged. McHenry made an open plea, which means his sentence will be determined by the judge. He faces five to 15 years. The prosecution recommended a sentence of 13 years.

Ashtin Weger, 20, took the stand just moments after McHenry and changed his plea to guilty. As part of an agreement with the prosecution, he will receive a 15-year sentence for first-degree attempted robbery and 15 years for armed criminal action, to be served concurrently.

After the hearing, a woman walked up to McHenry’s father, Hurlee McHenry, just outside the courtroom and shook his hand. “I just wanted to say I’m sorry,” she said, her eyes rimmed with tears.

“Oh no,” Hurlee McHenry said, bowing his head. “I feel the same way. I just feel sorry for all the kids. All of them. Matter of seconds, life changes.”

On the night of Feb. 16, Weger, Brown and Andre Lee, 21, were supposed to bring $2,100 to buy marijuana from Enyart in the liquor store parking lot at 2201 Ballenger Lane, according to court documents.

Shortly after Weger, Lee and Brown arrived, a Jeep pulled up, according to the probable cause statement. Enyart got out of the vehicle and demanded money from Weger. Enyart then allegedly fired a handgun at the men, and they returned fire. Brown was shot during the exchange and later died at University Hospital.

The statement said Michael McHenry, Nikolaus Wadlow, 16, and Nick Weavers, 21, were in the Jeep with Enyart and knew the robbery was going to happen. The four were arrested and charged with second-degree murder and first-degree robbery, as were Weger and Lee.

Though the shooting only resulted in one death, Missouri criminal law allows for multiple suspects to be charged for the same murder if they are thought to be acting together.

But each of the murder charges have now been dropped — except the charge against Enyart.

Lee, Wadlow, and Weavers each made plea agreements in exchange for testimony against Enyart, assistant prosecutor Stephanie Morrell said.

Lee pleaded guilty Sept. 8 to first-degree robbery and armed criminal action. Like Michael McHenry, Lee made an open plea. His sentencing is set up for Nov. 2.

On Aug. 17, Weavers pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery and will receive 12 years.

Wadlow pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted robbery after being certified as an adult. His sentencing is set for Oct. 5.

Michael McHenry’s father said he would attend Enyart’s trial, which has not yet been scheduled.

Hurlee McHenry still described himself as “the proud parent of Michael,” who was on track to graduate from Rock Bridge High School and had only a traffic ticket before the February shooting. Hurlee McHenry remained optimistic about his son’s sentencing and expressed sadness about Brown’s death.

“It’s all in God’s hands,” he said, referring to the details of the night of the incident. “The truth will come out.”


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Comments

Charles Dudley Jr September 22, 2009 | 4:31 a.m.

Bah first major offense more than likely. They will do maybe 80% or due to over crowding be out early.

Same old crap and same old revolving prison doors.

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