An anticipated plea deal in the case of slain principal Brian Betts was postponed Thursday so defense attorneys could sort through legal issues that are part of the agreement. The defendant, Sharif Lancaster, 19, is due back in court Tuesday morning.
Attorneys in the case still expect the plea agreement to go through. The terms of the agreement, laid out in court papers filed Wednesday, call for Lancaster to plead guilty to robbery and use of a handgun during a felony. The exact nature of the legal issues wasn't clear, but they may relate to Lancaster's sentencing guidelines, originally set at 20 to 35 years.
Lancaster initially was charged with first-degree murder and other charges. He is not believed to be the trigger-man in Betts's murder.
"There are some legal issues that have come up," Defense Attorney Alan Drew told Circuit Judge Eric Johnson in court Thursday. "After we've had an opportunity to look at those issues, we want to have an opportunity to talk to Mr. Lancaster about those issues and get his input."
Prosecutors told Johnson they didn't object to the delay.