FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) -A suspect in the murder of a 16-year-old outside a Broward County high school in April 2009 has agreed to a plea deal and will testify against the suspected shooter.

Terrance James agreed to plead no contest minutes before jury selection was set to begin in his trial for the murder of Gregory Smith.

The prosecutor said if James testifies truthfully at the trial of suspected shooter Janard Orange, he will be sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Chavante Roberts, Smith’s mother, said James’ decision is bittersweet.

“Twenty-five years is a long time but it won’t bring my baby back,” she said. “But at least he’s manning up and taking responsibility for what he did. Means a lot to me.”

According to the prosecutor, Gregg Rossman, James was the driver the night Smith was robbed and killed after attending a talent show at Boyd Anderson High School.

“It appears from everything we know about the case (James) didn’t have an intention that anybody get hurt that night,” Rossman said. “He did facilitate it — driving the car and participating in a robbery.”

Witnesses told investigators Smith complied with the thieves and begged for his life. Orange is accused of shooting Smith anyway.

“Mr. Orange got out of the car and approached 6 people and allegedly fired shots at one who ran away and fired shots at the victim — Greg Smith and killed him,” Rossman said.

During the hearing, James seemed to vacillate about whether to accept the deal. As he sat with his attorney, James raised a thumb to indicate he wanted to make a deal.

James’ mother wept during the hearing. Surprisingly, it was Chavante Roberts who handed her a tissue to wipe away her tears.

“Us as mothers we have a bond,” Roberts said. “It’s just a motherly thing. My mother’s instinct. I see another mother hurting and I’m hurting and I told her everything’s gonna work out. Just pray.”

Greg Smith was an honor roll student who loved creating music, attending church and being with his family. His mother said she is eagerly awaiting the trial of Orange, possibly in February.

“I have to be strong for Greg,” she told CBS 4’s Carey Codd. “I have to be strong for my son. It’s not about me. It’s about Greg and making sure he gets his justice.”

Once the trial is over, Chanvante Roberts said she is in the process of creating an arts foundation to honor her son’s memory.

Comments (3)
  1. tired says:

    They’re cutting this animal a deal! You know what that means, he’ll be back out on the street in 7 to 10 years to murder someone else’s child. Our criminal justice system hard at work.

    1. wts says:

      It is sad that good productive kids are the ones killed. The scum of society- survive and prosper. James’ mother might be hurt, but this kid didn’t just become a bad kid overnight. Parenting is a part of everything. To raise a child takes a lot, It is so much easier to act as a victim, like James mother.

  2. Ness says:

    it’s funny how people can talk about what they don’t know by assuming. For the 1st post know the facts before you make an assumptions. Even the witness said that James told the boy to ge back in the car and tried to prevent him from killing the innocent boy, I am not saying he is 100% innocent however he was not the one the killed anyone therefore you have no right to call him an animal. for the second person you don’t know anything about James mother or her struggles to raise her children right. What everybody needs to do shut the fuck up if you do not know the truth. It’s easier for people to point the finger when they are not innocent themselves. “HE WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE” GOD IS THE FINAL JUDGE, remember that!!!

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