Plea deal in shooting death upsets victim's family

Plea deal in shooting death upsets victim's family

TAYLORSVILLE, NC (WBTV) - An Alexander County man accused of shooting three people following an argument at a party in 2012 pleaded guilty Wednesday in Taylorsville to one count of voluntary manslaughter and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon.

Mark McWhorter had been facing first degree murder charges in the death of Andre Connor at one point but conflicting statements from witnesses along with a claim of self defense resulted in a plea deal.

The arrangement put the sentence at five to seven years and means McWhorter, with credit for time already served, could be free in as little as two years.

"This is not justice, not at all," said the victim's brother Shaun Flowers.

Flowers says McWhorter should have been given a much longer sentence and believes the shooting was no accident.

"Who comes to a party uninvited, with a gun?"

Stephanie Connor, the victim's mother, told the court she hurts every day and that what happened is still hard on her. The fact that the defendant could be out of prison so soon has her upset.

"He will be able to be with his family but all I can do is go to my son's tombstone and leave flowers on his grave," she said.

Several members of the victim's family stood up in court and told the judge they were disappointed in the outcome.

McWhorter never looked their way, instead, stared at the floor in front of him the entire time. When the judge asked the defendant if he had anything to say, he said no.

He was escorted out of the courthouse under heavy security and will be handed over to the North Carolina Department of Corrections in the coming days.

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