FORT PIERCE — Rather than put his mother through the rigors of a trial, an 18-year-old man who accidentally shot and killed his 21-year-old brother pleaded no contest Thursday to a manslaughter charge.
The plea deal will keep Evans Honord out of jail and encourage him to continue his education.
Honord and his older brother, Schadrac Honord, both of Port St. Lucie, were visiting their friends Wilton and Hayley Nisbeth, both Marines who had just returned from serving two years in Japan, on Dec. 1 when Evans Honord picked up a gun, began playing with it and fatally shot Schadrac Honord.
"This is a tragic, unfortunate case," defense attorney Tracy Davis told Circuit Judge Robert Makemson at the hearing Thursday.
Both Davis and Assistant State Attorney Daryl Isenhower said Evans Honord and his mother, Elunette Victor, agreed to the plea deal to avoid taking the case to trial.
"She simply can't face a trial," Davis said of Victor, "and the family doesn't want to prolong this any longer than necessary."
According to the plea deal, Honord will be sentenced to 10 years probation but can have the probationary period terminated after five years if he stays out of trouble. The sentence can be lifted after three years if he enrolls in college and earns at least 50 credits.
Honord faced up to 15 years in prison if convicted of manslaughter.
Makemson will withhold adjudication so that Honord won't be a convicted felon. Sentencing is scheduled for July 20 to allow Honord to graduate from high school.
Isenhower said the state agreed to the plea deal "in hopes that this will point Mr. Honord in the right direction and that he'll continue his education."
According to witnesses, Schadrac Honord and Wilton Nisbeth were best friends from high school. The Nisbeths were packing for their new posting in California when Schadrac and Evans Honord, as well as other friends, came to the Nisbeth home in the 1800 block of Southwest Cameo Boulevard in Port St. Lucie.
Wilton Nisbeth had a gun for protection on the drive to California, and he put it on the couch in front of Evans Honord.
Nisbeth told police he warned people the gun was loaded and they shouldn't touch it.
A Port St. Lucie Police Department affidavit states Evans Honord played with the gun briefly and then "acted with culpable negligence" when he discharged the weapon in the direction of his brother.
Witnesses reported Evans Honord said, "I shot my brother."
Schadrac Honord was pronounced dead at the scene.