Clermont man takes plea deal in slaying - South Lake Press: News

BARTOW Clermont man takes plea deal in slaying

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Posted: Friday, July 11, 2014 11:02 am

A Clermont man, accused of participating in a March 2013 home invasion that left one man dead, pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree murder with a firearm.

Richard Virnet Jr., 22, was facing a first-degree murder charge, and would have had a mandatory life sentence if convicted. He reached a plea deal with prosecutors.

Virnet was adjudicated guilty of second-degree murder, in addition to burglary while armed or with an assault or battery, and attempted armed robbery.

Part of his plea deal requires him to cooperate with the State Attorney’s Office in testifying against Kenneth Perez, 18, the other man accused in the shooting death of Jesse Shivers, 30, of Davenport.

Perez’s trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 15, and Virnet is scheduled to return to court Oct. 9 for sentencing. Perez was 17 at the time of the attack and is being tried as an adult.

Because a gun was used during the commission of the crime, Virnet faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison. The maximum he could serve is 25 years. The plea agreement did not include a suggested sentence.

According to an arrest report, two men armed with revolvers forced their way into a Davenport home on March 25, 2013, demanding to see another man who lived there.

The two men were confronted by Shivers and Christina Assad, the report states.

Perez pointed his pistol at Assad, a houseguest who was calling 911, reports state.

Shivers, 30, told Perez to not point the gun at her and they began fighting, reports state.

Perez struck Shivers in the head with the pistol and Shivers then pushed him, reports state.

The arrest report says Perez then shot Shivers in the upper left torso and he died on the scene, and the two men fled the house and ran to their vehicle, which was parked two streets away. Assad was not injured.

Two months later, police received a tip that Virnet was a participant and that he was bragging about his involvement in the homicide, the report states.

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