Man pleads guilty in Creekwood shooting; once talked about staying on right track

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A Wilmington man pleaded guilty today in connection to a shooting in Creekwood in late September.

An orange jumpsuit and a guilty plea were not the way things were supposed to end up for Montrel Jones, 24. Five years ago he was one of three young men highlighted in a WWAY special report "Young, Black and Under Attack." The stories focused on negative stereotypes of young black men.

Jones and two other high school seniors heading to college despite tough starts in life were cited as success stories.

"I didn't have the money, the clothes, and I just kept pushing myself and telling myself I'm not going to be like this when I get older, and I'm going to try to achieve as much as possible in life. That's what I'm doing here today," Jones said in the spring 2008 interview.

Wednesday, though, Jones pleaded guilty to going armed to the terror of the public and breaking and entering after a shooting in Creekwood Sept. 29 injured two people.

As part of his suspended sentence and probation, the judge ordered him to avoid the other two defendants in the case. It was a reminder of the now prophetic advice Jones once shared with us.

"Don't look toward the negative," he said during the 2008 interview. "Just because it looks fun at the time, worse case if someone gets shot, you're all going down for that charge. Where will you be? You'll be in jail, and you'll wish you weren't there, so just find someone that you can be positive with."

Records show Jones was also convicted of assault and disorderly conduct as a teen. In the courtroom Wednesday he told the judge, "I learned my lesson."

Jones received a 45-day suspended sentence. Because he already served 59 days in jail, he was released this afternoon. The judge also ordered him to stay away from Creekwood and all other WHA properties and not be involved in any gang activities.

Jones declined to talk to us before leaving jail.

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"Wednesday, though, Jones pleaded guilty to going armed to the terror of the public and breaking and entering after a shooting in Creekwood Sept. 29 injured two people."

And his whole sentence was 45 day. Wow, what a lengthy time to be locked up. I'm sure he learned his lesson. Next week when he is found in Creekwood and charged with trespassing, he may get a 1 hour sentence.

Just a minor correction to your comment. That was a 45 day SUSPENDED sentence with probation. That means he will serve absolutely no time and is released immediately back into the public where I am sure he has learned his lesson and will sin no more. What exactly is it that Ben David and our courts are trying to accomplish? It asure doesn't look anything like justice.

This guy was cited in a WWAY report that told the story of how young black men were being unfairly portrayed. Really? With all the shootings, gang violence, KNOCKOUT, drug dealing, robberies, rapes, and assaults in the area and they are being treated unfairly?

How about WWAY does the responsible thing and report on how Ben David cuts so many plea bargains to the detriment of the public he swore an oath to serve? How about WWAY do a report on how this entire metropolitan area is held hostage to violence and crime committed predominantly by young black males.

45 day suspended sentence...wonder how long before he either fails to show for a probation meeting, provides a false address or is back in Creekwood hanging with the other bangers? I hope he doesn't choose to shoot at people again...if history is an indicator...it is just a matter of time though.

I wonder if Ben David has a difficult time washing all this blood off his hands?

Why is it that someone convicted of DWI that did not hurt anyone gets far more punishment than someone who shot another person? I am not advocating reducing the DWI penalties, I am simply pointing out the inequities in the legal system. I believe the penalty for shooting someone should be more than those for DWI. This case did not send the message that is is wrong to shoot another person. The revolving door is why Wilmington has become a shooting gallery..........

If I were a welfare riding gun toting thug why has dreams of doing nothing productive my whole life I know what judge I would be voting for.

...are 100% of the problem when it come to perpetuation of violent crime! These crimes have very little to do with law enforcement and everything to do with the 3-ring circus that occurs in district court every single day to support that revolving door laden with smiling criminals!

The next thing we'll hear is that Ol' Jones here has murdered someone to supply his crack habit. Stay tuned!

Thank you, Ben David for allowing this lousy sentence for a violent crime.

Please let more information indicating that this guy didn't fire a weapon and just got caught up. Otherwise they've just unleashed another person on the city that's willing to fire indiscriminately into a neighborhood. This is surreal. 45 days?

The 2008 interview was quite enlightening. So what college did this gun-toting thug choose to attend? (I bet NONE.) Shame on the judge that let this thug walk free, back on the streets. Yeah, I'm sure he really "learned his lesson" and I'm equally sure he will NEVER associate with fellow-thugs or step foot on WHA properties EVER again, since the judge told him not too. Whatta joke.

45 days? Really? Should have put the victims in jail instead!

Heck, I bet the guy he shot in the foot is ready to run the marathon!

If he shot a guy in the foot, that means he's an "Enforcer".

Glad to see he, and hundreds of other violent criminals are "learning their lesson." No wonder Wilmington is a war zone.

Such an extreme punishment for shooting two people and trying to shoot more. I am so glad that he could plea bargin down and go straight back to Creekwood to join in the gang war. Good Job Mr Hug a Thug