Man enters Alford Plea to second-degree murder in Petersburg

Man enters Alford Plea to second-degree murder in Petersburg

DINWIDDIE, VA (WWBT) - A Petersburg man agreed to plead guilty on Wednesday to second-degree murder in a 2014 homicide.

Devin Thomas will spend 28 years in prison, with another 20 suspended on convictions for murder, firearms violations and concealment of a body, according to Dinwiddie Commonwealth's Attorney Ann Baskervill. He entered an Alford plea, in which he would not admit he was guilty, but he acknowledged the prosecution had enough evidence to convict him, according to Baskervill.

Prosecutors say Thomas and Joseph Phillips killed 33-year-old Jeremiah Jones. Phillips plead guilty on Tuesday.

"I'm so glad to finally provide some closure for the victim's family and for the Dinwiddie and Petersburg communities, and so grateful that both assailants accepted responsibility for what never should have happened in the first place," Baskervill said in an email to NBC12.  "The certainty of the agreed-upon convictions, and the acceptance of responsibility by both defendants, help to restore justice and peace as much as possible.  I wish we could bring Jeremiah Jones back to his family, but since we can't, we at least can now move forward and begin healing."

Thomas received attention in 2014 when he recorded an arrest on a cell phone and claimed police misconduct. He said he was traumatized by his arrest and asked for an apology from Petersburg police.  The video of his arrest also sparked outcry from the Petersburg community, saying the police went too far. Petersburg police launched an investigation into the officers' actions and received support from the local NAACP chapter.

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