Ensley quintuple homicide suspect accepts plea deal - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Ensley quintuple homicide suspect accepts plea deal

Artavius Underwood booking photo from 2012. Source: Birmingham PD Artavius Underwood booking photo from 2012. Source: Birmingham PD

A 19-year-old accused in a quintuple homicide in Ensley has accepted a plea deal. Artavius Underwood pleaded guilty to five counts of capital murder on Wednesday.

Underwood's attorneys got a call from prosecutors around 8 a.m. saying they wanted to discuss a plea deal. Once both sides showed up at court, it took a little over two hours to hammer out the details before the sentencing.

As part of the plea deal, the state agreed to drop a sixth charge of capital murder for killing two or more people. The state also dismissed a robbery charge against Underwood.

In the courtroom, Judge Stephen Wallace asked Underwood for each count, "Do you plead guilty voluntarily?"

Underwood replied, "Yes, sir."

The judge then asked "Do you plead guilty because you are guilty?"

Underwood responded "Yes, sir," again.

Per the plea deal, Underwood will serve five life sentences that will run concurrently. He will also be eligible for parole in 15 years.

Members of the victim's families said they were pleased with the outcome and felt that they got justice.

"He got life. I'm happy. Would have been happier wtih an execution, but I'm happy with him getting life," said Haniel Sanchez, one of the victim's family members.

Underwood's attorney said they were surprised but grateful for the offer and felt the deal was best for everyone.

FOX6 asked two potential jurors how they would have decided the case, based on the evidence heard up until Wednesday. One said he would have found Underwood not guilty; the other said he would have found him guilty.

Attorneys for Underwood's co-defendants, Reginald Mims and Rashad Stoves, said they believe the state has a weak case pertaining to their clients.

Mims and Stoves are also charged with capital murder and will go on trial later this year.

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