The Washington Times-Herald

February 28, 2014

Benjamin pleads guilty in shooting

By Nate Smith
Times Herald

---- — Lucas Benjamin pleaded guilty to two charges in Daviess Superior Court Friday in the shooting of Devan Burris.

Benjamin, 19, Washington, will do 30 years in the state Department of Corrections if Judge Dean Sobecki accepts the agreement. Sentencing is set for March 21.

But Benjamin did not plead guilty to conspiracy to commit murder, a Class A felony. Rather, he pleaded guilty to attempted dealing in methamphetamine, a Class B felony, and assisting a criminal, a Class C felony. The other felony charges were dismissed.

Benjamin admitted in court he planned to sell Devan Burris, 17, a gram of meth on Dec. 6, 2013. During the sale, according to court records, Benjamin was being beaten by Burris and another male in an attempted robbery. Logan Evans, Burris' friend and driver, was in the car and shot a shotgun, eventually killing Burris.

Evans pleaded guilty to murder in court on Wednesday. He faces 45 years in prison for the shooting, but maintains he did not mean to shoot Burris or kill him.

The maximum sentence for the attempted dealing in methamphetamine charge is 20 years. An added five years was agreed to because Benjamin was carrying a handgun during the shooting. The maximum charge for assisting a criminal is also five years.

Benjamin said he did not tell police where Evans was after the shooting when he was arrested by police - the reason for the assisting a criminal charge.

As part of the plea agreement, Benjamin will be allowed to serve the final eight years of his sentence in work release, providing he is eligible. He will also be ordered to pay restitution to Burris' mother, Tammy, and father, Kevin Lawyer.

Benjamin's family members were in attendance during the hearing. Attorney Mike Chestnut said during the hearing there will not be any witnesses called during sentencing. Before the plea agreement, Chestnut had filed change of venue and self-defense motions.

Benjamin's grandmother, Barbara Boddy, wrote a letter to the court this week. She said in the letter that he needs to "stand responsible" for his actions, but that "he is worth saving."