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.