HAMPTON, Va. - One of the men charged in a Hampton attempted robbery that ended in a shootout with police last June pleaded guilty to 16 charges Wednesday.
21-year-old James Gregory's trial was supposed to last until Friday, but came to an abrupt end after he changed his pleas of not guilty to guilty.
Hampton Commonwealth's Attorney Anton Bell said this is not what he or anyone expected to happen. Bell said he was hoping to be able to present evidence to the jury Wednesday afternoon.
"He decided to plead guilty, which I can take is a strategic move because now the court can take into consideration guidelines versus a jury where he was facing a minimum of 128 years and multiple life sentences," Bell said
Gregory, who was 20 years old at the time, and two other men allegedly attempted to rob the GameStop in the Hampton Town Center AMC on June 12, 2017.
"He is on trial for the GameStop robbery. So it involves multiple abductions, multiple robberies and gun charges related to that," said Bell.
According to witness statements, the men locked customers and staff inside the store before a foot pursuit with police that ended with one officer being shot.
"The type of crime that he committed on that particular day was extremely violent, and as a result of that we want him to get the punishment that crime deserves," Bell said.
The next step will be sentencing on June 15. Bell says his office is seeking the maximum punishment - life in prison.