Not long before a Bluegrass Community and Technical College student was shot in the neck and left to die in a neighborhood intersection, his assailant became aware of the money he was carrying, new testimony revealed Thursday.
Robert Guernsey, 37, pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree manslaughter and first-degree robbery in the 2013 death of Derek Pelphrey, 23. Guernsey had been scheduled to go on trial Monday for murder and first-degree robbery.
Prosecutors recommended that Guernsey be sentenced to 10 years on the manslaughter charge and 13 years on the robbery charge. Fayette Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine will decide at a Dec. 21 sentencing whether the total sentence will be 13 or 23 years.
Last month Trustin Jones, 24, pleaded guilty to charges of murder and first-degree robbery. Jones acknowledged in court that he was the person who shot Pelphrey. Consequently, the death penalty was no longer a possible punishment for Guernsey had he gone to trial.
In response to questions from Judge Goodwine, Guernsey said in court Thursday that he told Jones that Pelphrey carried narcotics and a large amount of cash.
"It's my fault that everything got put into motion," Guernsey said.
"How did you know that Derek had drugs or money on him?" Goodwine asked.
"Because he had just been at my house with it," Guernsey said.
Guernsey plotted to have Jones take the money and drugs from Pelphrey, according to court records and testimony. Jones and his cousin, Desmond Jones, followed Pelphrey's vehicle and then confronted him near an intersection. Their two cars were side by side, and Trustin Jones told Pelphrey to throw the drugs and money through the window.
But suddenly another car approached. Desmond Jones accelerated the car he was driving and Trustin Jones said his gun went off and shot Pelphrey.
Wounded in the neck, Pelphrey got out of his car and collapsed in the intersection of Ridgepoint near Spangler Drive.
Desmond Jones, 25, pleaded guilty to criminal facilitation to first-degree robbery in 2015. A murder charge against him was dismissed.
The sentencing for Trustin Jones had been scheduled for Dec. 15, but Goodwine rescheduled it for Dec. 21 so that he and Guernsey are sentenced on the same day.