Killer refuses to cooperate, gets 5 years added to sentence

A man who pleaded guilty to being the triggerman in a 2013 homicide on the South Side received an additional five years in prison Tuesday for failing to cooperate in the prosecution of his co-defendants. 

Terrille D. Ellis, 27, had agreed to testify against two co-defendants as part of the plea agreement he reached with Franklin County prosecutors in October 2014. He pleaded guilty to aggravated murder with a gun in the death of 38-year-old Shaun Fullen. He was sentenced by Common Pleas Judge David E Cain to life in prison with no chance of parole for 23 years. 

He faced a possible sentence of life in prison without parole if he had been convicted of the charges at trial. 

In May 2015, Ellis refused to testify against one his co-defendants, breaking his agreement, Assistant Prosecutor Jason Manning said. 

Prosecutors responded by reinstating charges of aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary, which had been dismissed as part of his plea agreement. 

Tuesday, Ellis pleaded no contest to those charges. Cain followed a recommendation from Manning and defense attorney Robert Krapenc in imposing a five-year sentence. It means Ellis will serve a life sentence with no chance of parole for 28 years. 

In a no contest plea, a defendant doesn't admit guilt but admits to the facts in the indictment. Krapenc said the plea will allow his client to appeal the prosecution's decision to reinstate the charges. 

Ellis and Derrick L. Robinson were recruited by Melanie D. Spears to rob Fullen, who was her friend. Spears was at the apartment when Ellis and Robinson arrived on Nov. 20, 2013. Ellis shot and killed Fullen in the bathroom, and he and the accomplices ransacked the apartment, Manning said. 

The co-defendants eventually pleaded guilty in the case. Spears was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years for aggravated murder with a gun and illegally possessing a gun. Robinson was sentenced to 19 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter, aggravated robbery, burglary and illegally possessing a gun.

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