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Defendant takes plea in murder case

ALBANY, Ga. -- One of seven murder defendants who authorities say are members of the East Side Mafia gang on Friday accepted a plea deal for testimony in the case involving the murder of 20-year-old Florida resident LaShelton Kernard Stanford.

District Attorney Greg Edwards said Anthony B. Seay pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in the February 2010 homicide at Brick House Productions on the 1700 block of Schilling Avenue.

"He was separated from the victim, fighting with security guards, when he (Stanford) was shot," Edwards said. "He was a party to the beating before the shooting."

The plea deal included serving three years in prison and testimony at the trial, Edwards said. The deal had been offered to seven of the defendants in court Tuesday.

Considering that Edwards was working with restraints from the Supreme Court that said he could not use one defendant's testimony against another unless the defendant agreed to take the stand at trial, the deal could mean a less difficult route for prosecutors.

Edwards did not offer a deal to the eighth defendant, Shenard Smith, who authorities say was the gunman. Edwards said Smith shot Stanford multiple times.

The remaining six defendants charged with felony murder, aggravated assault and street-gang terrorism are Cavoris M. Barney, Jacorey A. Butts, Sean Frazier, Anthony W. Hawkins, Shacoby Seay and Shuntavious Seay.

Edwards said a jury had not been seated Friday. He said he expects a jury to be sworn in under Superior Court Judge Denise Marshall on Tuesday and the trial to commence.

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