A Reform, Alabama, man will spend 40 years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections after pleading guilty Monday to second-degree murder.
Cameron Merriweather, 30, was initially charged with capital murder in the May 20, 2011, shooting death of 19-year-old William Stallings. Merriweather was set to go to trial this week but plead before the trial began.
Merriweather is one of five people accused of breaking into the Lowndes County home where Stallings was sleeping. During the course of the break-in, Stallings was shot dead. Though all five were initially charged with capital murder, three were indicted on accessory charges. Merriweather and 29-year-old Joshua Taylor, also of Reform, were both indicted for capital murder.
Second-degree murder, or depraved heart murder, denotes a crime in which the defendant’s intention was not to murder anyone but his actions were so dangerous that murder resulted.
Last month, a jury from Marshall County convicted Taylor of capital murder. Taylor will spend life in prison.
“I am satisfied that justice was served and happy that the family has seen that justice was done without having sat through another trial,” District Attorney Scott Colom said of Merriweather’s plea.
Merriweather’s attorney did not respond to calls from The Dispatch by press time.