MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -A second defendant pleaded guilty Monday in the beating death of former Villanova basketball star Howard Porter, taking a plea agreement that calls for him to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Rashad Raleigh, 29, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and will be sentenced Sept. 8. In exchange, Ramsey County won't prosecute him for last year's triple murder of a St. Paul woman, her boyfriend and daughter, though federal prosecutors could still charge him in that case, lawyers said.
Another defendant, Tonya E. Johnson, admitted earlier to luring Porter to her St. Paul home, and pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting aggravated robbery
Fredquinzo King also is charged with first-degree murder in Porter's death. Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Mike Furnstahl said King has been offered a deal - plead guilty to second-degree murder and be eligible for parole after 30 years - but has declined it so far.
Johnson and Raleigh were once roommates. Raleigh and King are friends.
None knew Porter, 58, who had led Villanova to the 1971 NCAA championship game and was selected outstanding player of the tournament despite the Wildcats' loss to UCLA in the final.
Porter was drafted 32nd overall by the Chicago Bulls in 1971 and played seven professional seasons including stints with Detroit and New York but his career was cut short by injuries and cocaine addiction.
Porter disappeared the night of May 18, 2007, after leaving his St. Paul home. He was found badly beaten in Minneapolis the next morning and died May 26.
In court Monday, Raleigh described the fatal beating of Porter as a robbery gone bad. He said three defendants were drinking alcohol and taking Ecstasy. He said he told Washington to get a john and bring him back to the house so they could rob him. Washington found Porter while streetwalking.
She and Porter were in a bedroom, engaged in a sex act when Raleigh burst into the room with a gun. Porter came at Raleigh, who then enlisted King's help. Raleigh said the two of them beat Porter with a gun and chair or stool.
While Porter was down, he said, the men checked out his car and found evidence in his trunk that he was a probation officer. They went back in the house and beat him some more before taking him out to his car. Raleigh said they dumped his body in a north Minneapolis alley and left the car elsewhere.
Raleigh said he was shocked when he heard on television a few days later that Porter had been found alive. Porter, however, never regained consciousness and died.
Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner said she understands the families of the triple-homicide victims want their day in court, but defended the decision to leave any prosecution up to federal authorities.
``Our thinking is that life without possibility of parole - Rashad Raleigh off our streets, for sure, for the rest of his life - is a very good deal, and we feel it very much serves the public interest,'' Gaertner said.
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