Polk slaying suspects plead guilty to lesser charges

Polk County Sheriff's Office

BARTOW, Fla. (AP) — The two suspects in the 2016 slaying of a Florida man have pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Prosecutors reportedly offered 20-year-olds Todd Gates Jr. and Jacob Byers, who were both originally charged with first-degree murder, the plea deal when witness accounts became inconsistent. Polk County Sheriff’s Office reports say a 17-year-old Larry Graham jumped a fence and was walking down Kim Street in Auburndale on May 23, 2016, when a man wearing a gray ski mask jumped the same fence and leveled a shotgun at Graham.

Graham died after being shot once in the face.

Gate and Byers also face other charges including attempted armed robbery.

Gate is sentenced to 25 years in prison and 2 years’ probation. Byers is sentenced to 15 years in prison.

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