A Des Moines man has pleaded guilty to shooting and killing a teenager during a 2019 robbery.
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Makaveli Russell, 24, is one of three men charged in the death of Donzell Martin, 17, who was a student at Des Moines' Lincoln High School. Russell, who was charged with first-degree murder, told Judge Sarah Crane on Wednesday he fired the fatal shots during the confrontation on April 14, 2019.
According to court documents and testimony, Russell, along with Marcus Brown and Javell Williams, were together in a car when they encountered another group of people, and the resulting conversation turned into a dispute. Russell told Crane that he, Brown and Williams held two people at gunpoint and searched them for cash.© Provided photo/Special to the Register Makaveli Depriest Russell, 22, was arrested in Illinois and charged with homicide and robbery in connection to a fatal shooting of a Des Moines teenager.
At some point, Russell approached Martin, who was sitting in a different car. Martin warned Russell to stay away and fired a single gunshot. Russell then opened fire with his shotgun, striking Martin, who later died at MercyOne Medical Center.
Russell was arrested more than a week after the shooting in East Hazel Crest, Illinois. His attorneys indicated Wednesday he had intended to claim self-defense but was abandoning that argument to accept the plea deal.
Under the terms of his plea agreement, Russell pleaded guilty to one charge each of first-degree robbery, second-degree robbery, voluntary manslaughter and felon in possession of a firearm. Both sides have recommended sentences of 25, 10, 10 and 5 years, respectively, to be served consecutively for a total of 50 years. He would have to serve at least 29 before being eligible for release.
The deal also resolves two felony cases related to fights Russell has had in the Polk County Jail.
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Russell, who did not speak Wednesday except to offer yes or no responses to questions or to waive certain rights, is scheduled to be sentenced May 7.
For the other two defendants in the case, court records show Williams, 30, was initially charged with first-degree murder and robbery, and pleaded guilty Monday to second- and third-degree robbery. His plea deal recommends a sentence of up to 20 years, which will run consecutive to a sentence he is serving on federal firearms charges.
Brown, 26, was also charged with first-degree murder and robbery. Court records show he agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in November and is scheduled to plead guilty on May 11.
William Morris covers courts for the Des Moines Register. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, 715-573-8166 or on Twitter at @DMRMorris.
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Des Moines men plead guilty in 2019 robbery, shooting of 17-year-old Donzell Martin