Teen’s plea deal erases murder charges, jail time

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A teen charged with two others in the shooting death of a 30-year-old man in July agreed to a plea deal Friday that grants him a reprieve from prison time.

Vicxon Gray
Vicxon Gray

Vicxon Gray, 16, of the 4500 block of Kenilworth Street, initially faced charges of murder, felony murder and robbery in the July 9 fatal shooting of Melvin Palmer III during a struggle outside a southeast-side home. Brothers Shakidi Underwood, 18, and Kamari Underwood, 16, both of the 3900 block of South Wayne Avenue, we also charged the same.

Friday, though, those indictments on Gray went away with his signature.

In a scheduled hearing in Allen Superior Court, Gray agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors that drops each of those charges – and the possibility of more than 150 years in prison – in exchange for his guilty plea on a single Level 6 felony charge of assisting a criminal. The agreement called for a waived 30-day sentence, and Gray was released from custody.

Now the brothers Underwood alone will be tried for Palmer’s slaying.

Palmer was riding with a friend in the 4000 block of Lillie Street when the car pulled over and, according to charging information filed in Allen Superior Court, Palmer approached Kamari Underwood with money in his hand. Police believe the boy then pulled out a gun.

The two then began to fight and the struggle went to the ground, court documents said. During the fight, two gunshots rang out. At that point, someone emerged from a home and began shooting at Palmer, the charging information said.

Palmer then broke free and ran to the vehicle, and it sped off toward a hospital, court documents said. The car eventually found and cut off an ambulance, and medics found Palmer suffering from a gunshot wound. He was taken to a hospital where he would later die.

During an investigation, Fort Wayne police found two guns they believe were dropped by the teens. An investigation showed that Palmer was missing some of the cash he had before his encounter with the teenagers, court documents showed.

Gray and Kamari Underwood were quickly arrested; Shakidi Underwood was arrested weeks later outside Atlanta, Georgia.

Both cases on the Underwoods are pending.

Gray is scheduled to be sentenced in June. A judge must accept the agreement.

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