A Lexington man who shot and killed his ex-boyfriend in the parking lot of the Lexington Green shopping center in 2009 was convicted of murder for the second time Thursday.
Toby Ray Lasure's first conviction for the killing of Christopher Tolliver was overturned in October because Lasure's constitutional rights against self-incrimination were violated at his 2011 trial, according to an opinion written by Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Bill Cunningham.
Rather than go through another trial, Lasure, 35, pleaded guilty to murder Thursday, Fayette County Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson said.
He was sentenced to 30 years in prison and returned to the Little Sandy Correctional Complex in Sandy Hook, where he had been serving his previous sentence of life in prison.
"He wanted to be sentenced, and he's already back wherever he came from," Larson said.
Lasure was charged with gunning down Tolliver after a confrontation at the shopping center, where the two had met to talk after a bad breakup, family members of Lasure and prosecutors have said.
A jury in 2011 found Lasure guilty of murder after a four-day trial in which Lasure testified. However, it was Lasure's unexpected testimony that led to the verdict being overturned, according to the Supreme Court.
Lasure did not want to testify, but Judge Kimberly Bunnell ruled that defense witness Dr. Peter Schilling could not testify unless Lasure did.
Schilling testified about Lasure's mental state when he shot Tolliver. Because his testimony was expected to contain hearsay from Lasure, Lasure was compelled to testify as well.
"In light of the trial court's ruling, this choice cannot be considered voluntary," Cunningham's opinion said.
A posting on Larson's website said prosecutors consulted with Tolliver's family before offering the new plea deal. Tolliver's family preferred a lesser sentence "rather than going through the nightmare of another murder trial," the posting said.
Lasure will be eligible for parole after serving 20 years in prison. He would have been eligible in 20 years under his previous life sentence, Larson said.