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Shooter pleads guilty

Courtney Astolfi • Aug 27, 2014 at 2:38 PM

The gunman who shot a man at a Perkins Avenue car wash in January 2013 accepted a last-minute plea bargain Friday.

Marcus Campbell, 26, pleaded guilty in Erie County Common Pleas Court to one count each of felonious assault and having a weapon under disability. His sentencing hearing is tentatively scheduled for March 31, when he’ll face a recommended seven years behind bars.

Three shots rang out at a selfserve car wash in the 500 block of W. Perkins Avenue the evening of Jan. 16. One bullet pierced the chest and arm of Bart Carruthers, narrowly missing his heart.

Police later learned the shooting was a set-up.

Carruthers’ stepdaughter, Katie Wilson, 26, lured Carruthers there under the pretense of selling him Xanax, police said. When Campbell and Wilson’s robbery attempt went wrong, Campbell fired three shots at Carruthers before fleeing the area.

Campbell was indicted on charges of attempted murder, felonious assault, aggravated robbery and weapons under disability, as well as firearms specifications.

At his hearing Friday, defense attorney Geoff Oglesby and Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter agreed to drop the attempted murder and aggravated robbery charges — along with the firearms specifications — in exchange for a guilty plea on the other charges.    They recommended a sevenyear sentence, although Campbell could ultimately face up to 11 years and $25,000 in fines.

Because Campbell’s probation was revoked when he was arrested for the shooting, he’s currently serving out an unrelated sentence at the Richland Correctional Institution.

He’s slated for release in October 2015 on that charge, and at that point he’ll begin serving his sentence for the car wash shooting.

Before Friday’s hearing, Baxter reached out to Carruthers. He “tacitly” agreed to the bargain, even though he said he’d like to see Campbell get more time, Baxter said.

Carruthers declined the opportunity to appear at the plea hearing.

Said Oglesby of his client: “He is desirous of starting a new chapter in his life. He is pleading guilty because he is”

Campbell has apparently come to terms with the deal. “We came to a common base as far as the recommendation (for sevenyears)” Campbell told Judge Roger Binette.

Following the hearing, Campbell was carted back to the Erie County jail to await his sentencing.

Two other women involved in the incident, Theresa Purcell and Laura Purcell, are still awaiting final court action for their alleged roles in the shooting.

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