By F.T. Norton
A Wilmington man who won a bid for a new trial in a 2009 home invasion death pleaded guilty to a lesser charge Tuesday, one day into his retrial, according to the New Hanover County District Attorney’s Office.
The first witness had already testified Tuesday in Andre Sharpless’ first-degree murder trial in New Hanover County court when Sharpless, 28, decided to take the deal offered by prosecutors, said Samantha Dooies, assistant to District Attorney Ben David.
Sharpless pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, first-degree burglary and assault with a deadly weapon in the Nov. 30, 2009, killing of Tarell Jamal Phillips, 25. He was sentenced to from 210 to 261 months in prison, a marked difference from the life without parole he received during his first trial in 2011 where prosecutors said Sharpless was part of a scheme to rob Phillips and it ended in Phillips’ death.