A 33-year-old Norwich man pleaded guilty to Manslaughter in the First Degree with a Firearm for his role in the 2006 shooting death of a young Norwich man.
BRUCE GATHERS, who has been incarcerated on related charges since 2006, entered the guilty plea Thursday in New London Superior Court where sentencing has been scheduled for May 23, 2013.
Gathers entered the plea pursuant to the Alford doctrine under which a defendant does not admit guilt, but agrees that the state has enough evidence to get a conviction.
Gathers and Gregory Smith were arrested in 2010 and charged in the death of Sean R. Hill as the result of an investigation conducted by the Norwich Police Department in conjunction with the Southeastern Connecticut Cold Case Unit. The cases are being prosecuted by the Office of the State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of New London.
Both Gathers and Smith were previously convicted and sentenced to prison for their roles in a robbery and assault that occurred before Sean Hill was mortally wounded in the area of Boswell Avenue and Lake Street in Norwich minutes after midnight on June 3, 2006.
The 19-year-old victim was hit by a shot that rang out after a man he was with that night fled a Boswell Avenue apartment where he had been assaulted and robbed.
Smith is currently in the custody of the State of Connecticut Department of Correction serving a seven-year sentence in the robbery. He is charged with Murder and Felony Murder in the homicide case, which is pending in New London Superior Court.
The charge against Smith is merely an accusation and he is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.