CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- An accused shooter scheduled to go to trial instead entered a plea that means he did not admit guilt. He also reserved his right to appeal certain pre-trial issues.
Lamont Van Harris, 40, was charged with attempted murder, malicious wounding and five counts of wanton endangerment after shooting in Institute more than two years ago.
Van Harris was accused of shooting Travis Bush, 30, five times at a convenience store in September 2011.
He was on federal parole when the shooting occurred. He currently is serving a 12-year sentence in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Van Harris was scheduled to go to trial Wednesday at 9 a.m. but after about three hours of negotiations, both sides came up with a plea agreement.
Van Harris entered what is called a conditional Kennedy-Frazier plea to malicious wounding and a count of wanton endangerment. He was sentenced to 2-10 years for the first charge and five years for the second.
These sentences will run consecutively to one another and to his federal sentence.
In this type of plea, Van Harris maintains his innocence but thinks it is in his best interest to enter into a plea agreement. He still stands convicted of these two counts but denies guilt.
The conditional part of his plea means he is allowed to appeal certain pretrial issues. Van Harris maintains since he already was charged in federal court he is facing double jeopardy.
He also says witnesses shouldn't be allowed to identify him in court in their testimony because of asserted inconsistencies.
Van Harris also wanted Kanawha Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey to recuse herself and mentioned he wanted a different attorney.