SCRANTON — A man from Scranton, who was set to go on trial for murder, agreed to plead guilty at the last-minute to charges of involuntary manslaughter.
The deadly shooting in 2011 led to the shutdown of a notorious bar in Scranton’s south side.
Though it’s not much to look at, Wendy Martin said she feels at peace now when she passes the former Finn McCool’s Bar on Cedar Avenue.
Martin is one of the life-long residents of the south Scranton neighborhood who have been shaken since the bar became the scene of a deadly shooting in May of 2011.
“That whole lot is a mess, but it’s peaceful, it’s less stressful, it’s more comfortable,” Martin said.
Finn McCool’s stayed closed after the shooting and has since deteriorated. But, memories of what happened then haven’t.
Malik Carter of Scranton walked into the bar and was shot in the face.
After a few days of investigation, detectives arrested Derrick Phillips, a friend of Carter’s, and charged him with murder. Phillips was set to stand trial this week, but surprised jurors with a guilty plea.
Phillips pleaded to an involuntary manslaughter charge and was sentenced to 6 and a half to 13 years in prison.
Prosecutors say the plea deal saves them from a lengthy murder trial that would have delved into what they say were weeks of bad drug deals, lies, and violence leading up to Malik carter’s death.
“I think if people knew the tortured history amongst those two groups, people would’ve been very frightened,” said Assistant District Attorney Shane Scanlon.
Scanlon said the shooting stemmed from an alleged home invasion, arson, and stabbing. In those crimes, Malik Carter was the suspect and Derrick Phillips was the victim.
Phillips’ attorney said the relationship between Phillips, Carter, and their friends, was so violent just as easily could have been Phillips who is dead. And that would have been his defense.
“That would have been the theory we presented to the jury, the only thing missing was my client with a bullet in his head,” said attorney Matthew Comerford.
There are three other people who face punishment for Malik Carter’s killing. Derrick Phillips’ girlfriend, Sunni Pompey, was sentenced to 27-54 months in prison for lying to police. Also, Kyle Mason and Fahim Allen, who allegedly helped Phillips’ carry out the killing will be sentenced later on this year.