Plea deal reached for man involved in riot before Hankins' death - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

GUILTY: Plea deal reached for men involved in riot before Hankins' death

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Marcus Hankins was killed on April 15, 2011 around 1 a.m. at a party in Brunswick County. Marcus Hankins was killed on April 15, 2011 around 1 a.m. at a party in Brunswick County.
Samar Peleek Gardner pleaded guilty to inciting a riot. (Source: Brunswick County Sheriff's Office) Samar Peleek Gardner pleaded guilty to inciting a riot. (Source: Brunswick County Sheriff's Office)
Jamal Bethea (Source: Brunswick County Sheriff's Office) Jamal Bethea (Source: Brunswick County Sheriff's Office)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – One of the men charged with inciting a riot at the party where South Brunswick High School football player Marcus Hankins was killed last year pleaded guilty on Wednesday, and another took a plea deal Thursday.

Samar Peleek Gardner, of Bolivia, pleaded guilty to one count of felony inciting a riot and one count of possession of a controlled substance, according to Brunswick County court officials.

A charge of possession of drug paraphernalia was dismissed.

Gardner, 26, was sentenced to a 90-day active split sentence.

Another suspect, Jamal Bethea, pleaded guilty Thursday to inciting a riot, according to ADA Lee Bollinger, making it the third co-defendant in the case to take a plea deal. 

Michael Montray Frink previously made a plea bargain in April.

Bollinger expects Bethea to get the same sentencing as Gardner.

Bethea was originally supposed to enter the plea deal Wednesday, but his lawyer could not make it to court.

The district attorney's office says it is not likely anyone will be charged with murdering Hankins, because more than 40 rounds were fired. Therefore, the DA's office says it would be nearly impossible to pinpoint who fired the fatal bullet.

The charges stem from a party at the Brunswick County Democratic Party headquarters building on April 15, 2011. Hankins was shot around 1 a.m., about an hour after the headquarters was supposed to be vacated.

The death of Hankins is still under investigation. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 910-253-2732.

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