Shortly before a jury was set to determine his fate on Aug. 8, a former Hot Springs Village man accepted a plea agreement on a Dec. 11, 2017, aggravated robbery and manslaughter conviction.
Philip Edward McKellar had pleaded nolo contendere to aggravated robbery and manslaughter charges last Dec. 11. He received a 15-year sentence for robbery, and 10 years for manslaughter, to be served concurrently.
After both the prosecution and defense told Circuit Judge John Homer Wright they were ready for jury sentencing, the defense indicated it would accept the agreement.
The charges stemmed from his complicity in the death of an accomplice during a botched armed robbery March 6, 2016, in Mountain Pine.
McKellar plotted with Marion Dean Weathers, 61, who lived off of Highway 128 near the Village, to rob two men at a Mountain Pine Road residence in Mountain Pine.
According to an affidavit, McKellar had been at the residence several hours earlier and had bought marijuana. The affidavit said drugs, money and guns were in the house.
Weathers was allegedly carrying a shotgun when one of the men at the home shot the 61-year-old. Weathers died at the scene.
McKellar was initially charged with murder, but the charge was reduced to manslaughter in April 2016. He was 20 at the time of the attempted robbery.
McKellar was arrested March 7, 2016, and was released on $50,000 bond on March 18, 2016. He pleaded not guilty on May 9, 2016. On Dec. 5, 2016, a mental evaluation was ordered. He was ruled fit for trial on May 22, 2017.
Armed robbery is a Class Y felony, the most serious level, carrying a potential penalty of 10-40 years in prison, or life. Manslaughter is a lesser Class C felony, with a potential prison term of three to 10 years, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.