James Yates Pleads Guilty to Murder of Andre Pierce Joyner

Under oath, and with his family crying in the courtroom, James Walter Yates III, admitted Wednesday to fatally shooting Andre Pierce Joyner in the head after an argument near Ludlow-Taylor Elementary School this April.

Yates, 29, pleaded guilty in response to a charge of second-degree murder while armed. Joyner, 29, was found by police in the 600 Block of Morris Place, Northeast, unconscious, unresponsive, and suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

Under the plea agreement, Yates could be sentenced to 12 to 24 years in prison, following guidelines that both defense attorneys and prosecutors agreed on. The maximum sentence for second degree murder is 40 years, but prosecutors are asking for a maximum of 18 years in this case.

I don’t have to, but quite frankly I can’t remember a time I’ve gone outside the guidelines,” said Judge Canan, who set sentencing to be held at 11:00 a.m. on Sept. 5.

According to the factual proffer, five days before the murder, Joyner pulled a gun on Yates, but did not fire.

Defense attorney Madalyn Harvey had argued Yates shot in self-defense, but said Yates did not have the adequate evidence to hold this up in trial.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Kravis said eyewitnesses in the case identified Yates, but could not hear what words he and Joyner exchanged before the shooting happened.

Yates was arrested on April 28, after police tracked a license plate number from a car he was seen fleeing in, to his home address.

Charging documents say detectives found a gun and ammunition matching shells recovered from the scene of the shooting at Yates’ address hours after the shooting.

Plea documents have been added to this post:

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