By Philip Jankowski
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON - A Killeen man Monday pleaded guilty to a charge of murder just as his trial was set to begin.
Kevin Clavon Wright, 32, was charged with the Feb. 11, 2010, shooting of Deverelle Johnson, his 22-year-old girlfriend, at an apartment in the 1100 block of Garth Drive in Killeen.
Lawyers representing Wright and the state of Texas spent the morning picking a jury. However, as the jury was seated and the trial was about to begin, Wright told the court he wished to plead guilty.
It was an open pleading made on the condition that the terms "knowingly and intentionally" be removed from Wright's murder charge.
It will have no effect on the range of punishment available when Wright is sentenced Jan. 26. However, it could mitigate the length of the sentence Wright will receive from 27th District Court Judge Joe Carroll, said Wright's attorney, Michael White.
"He finally understood that unless he accepts his responsibility, the judge will not be kind or lenient," said White.
Wright faces between five years and life in prison.
Since the night of the shooting, Wright maintained that he accidentally shot Johnson. At the time of his arrest, he admitted to pressing a loaded handgun against Johnson's head during an argument.
Wright told police he became angry with Johnson because she came home late, according to court documents. At the time, he was wearing a gun.
Wright later told police he pulled the gun out, "racked a round" and pressed the gun against her head to scare her. He claimed the gun went off on its own, an arrest affidavit states.
Wright then disposed of the gun in a field south of his apartment building. It was later recovered by police.
Wright has a previous conviction for felony drug possession out of Illinois, but has no history of violent offenses.
Contact Philip Jankowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7553. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcrime.