By Philip Jankowski
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON — A judge granted a change in plea Thursday for a 20-year-old Killeen man accused in a June 2010 homicide during a high-speed chase on a neighborhood street.
Howard Lee Jordan IV pleaded guilty to murder with his sentence capped at 30 years May 26, 2011, a decision he testified was made in ignorance and only because he wanted to have his bond reduced.
Jordan told the court his lawyer had insisted he would not face a sentence more severe than probation. Convinced it was the right choice, Jordan signed a confession indicating he fired a shotgun at Dejon Brooks during a June 11, 2010, car chase that ultimately concluded on Gus Drive.
Brooks, 21, died after remaining on life support for five days. Police charged Jason Willard Jackson, Tyrone Demarcus Owens and Jordan with first-degree felony murder.
Owens, believed to be the main shooter, pleaded guilty. Jackson was the driver of the truck that chased Brooks.
Jackson gave a statement to police indicating that Jordan fired a shotgun at Brooks during the chase. But he recanted that story in a letter to presiding Judge Martha Trudo.
"(Jordan) was just in the backseat ducking for his life trying to avoid being shot," Jackson said in the letter. "I just want to clear his name from this incident cause there was nothing he could have done different ... and thats (sic) the honest truth."
Jackson's trial is set to begin Oct. 15.
Jordan's attorney during the pleading, Robert "Buck" Harris, said he made it very clear to Jordan what the possibilities were if he pleaded guilty. He said his former client's change in mind was not that uncommon.
"There are people that got tattoos five years ago that wonder what they were thinking," Harris said. "He just wanted that bond."
While he was out on bond, police arrested Jordan on a charge of possession of marijuana, less than 2 ounces. After Trudo granted Jordan's request to rescind the guilty plea, she set his bond at $100,000. He remained in Bell County Jail on Thursday.
Contact Philip Jankowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7553. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcrime.