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Home invasion murder trial ends with plea deal

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LAWTON, Okla_There was a twist in the murder trial of a Lawton man, accused in the death of his accomplice, Michael Wemy, during a home invasion that happened three years ago. 

Jeffrey Karr pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of conspiracy to commit robbery and was sentenced to ten years in prison. He will also get credit for the time he has already served while the case plodded through the system. This was Karr's third trial. The first ended in a hung jury in 2010. The second trial ended last year when Karr's attorney had to be removed from the case. Tuesday's plea brought a strong emotional reaction outside the courtroom.

Karr's family was very happy when they got the news, they were in the hallway cheering and crying.  The District Attorneys office said they were admittedly disappointed. Karr's plea deal was not based on what their office recommended. They hoped for a tougher sentence but that blind plea allowed the judge to make the decision on his sentence.

"It has been the hardest three years of our life. Eight years ago we lost our mom and then Michael. I am just glad that this was over with," Maria Wermy-Jacobo, Michael's sister, said.

Assistant District Attorney Irma Newburn said the state knew this case was an uphill battle because some citizens disagree with the felony-murder rule. Karr was charged with first-degree murder because he acted with Wermy in the robbery.

"When a robber dies people are less sympathetic than if you had had one of the victims of the home invasion, or for the lack of a better term, a truer victim."

She said it can be a tough sell because the evidence has to show that Karr acted in the robbery not the actual murder.

"That law in and of itself is still the law here in Oklahoma and there's a good reason for it. In this case, robbery with a dangerous weapon, a sawed-off shotgun and 9mm handgun is a very dangerous crime."

Karr's attorney Jim Berry said his client is not getting off easy.

"Its up to the Department of Corrections when he gets out. Its not considered a violent crime because it is a conspiracy. He's been in the county jail for over three years, so, he has served a considerable amount of time."

Wermy's sister Allison Murray said they can now mourn for Michael and that she believes Karr is innocent.

"I am not saying he should have died, he's our brother and I love him to death. God bless his heart. I am sorry for their family, their loss, I am sorry for our loss. I know Jeffrey wasn't involved. I know it, he wouldn't have left our brother there."

The family of the victims of the home invasion was also there and they were very angry. They feel that Karr should have been found guilty of murder and received a tougher sentence.

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