MIAMI COUNTY — In a plea agreement with the state, Richard Terrel changed his plea to guilty on Friday for his role in the disappearance and murder of William York in May 2015.
A week away from a jury trial, Terrel entered a plea of guilty to a bill of information charging him with first-degree felony voluntary manslaughter in exchange for the state to drop the special felony murder charge.
If all charges were to run consecutively, Terrel’s maximum sentence would be 18 years in prison. If his charges were to run concurrently, Terrel would serve 11 years.
Miami County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher Gee presided over the hearing. He set Terrel’s sentencing date for Nov. 29.
Terrel was indicted on charges of fifth-degree felony abuse of a corpse, third-degree felony tampering with evidence and second-degree felonious assault in connection with the case. Terrel also entered a guilty plea to the receiving stolen property charges regarding the theft of York’s guns from his home weeks prior to his murder.
Miami County Prosecutor Tony Kendell said he contacted the family about the change of plea and “they were on board with it.”
Terrel’s counsel, Jay Adams, made no comment in regards to the change of plea hearing.
On April 25, Terrel’s girlfriend Hope Earnshaw-York entered a plea of no contest to felony charges in connection with the murder of her grandfather.
Earnshaw-York was found guilty of felony abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence. She also pleaded no contest to three counts of receiving stolen property regarding several guns that were stolen from her grandfather prior to his death.
Earnshaw-York could face up to nine years in prison. According to recent court documents, she is set to be sentenced Nov. 7.
Terrel’s trial had been continued several times due to conflicting schedules for the prosecutor’s expert witnesses and Terrel’s court-appointed counsel Jay Adams, as well as technological issues that hampered Judge Christopher Gee’s ability to review police interview tapes.
On May 12, Judge Gee denied Terrel’s request to suppress statements made during a six-hour interview with law enforcement on June 3, 2015. The statements were made before he was arrested and charged with the murder of William York Sr., 88, of Tipp City.
The couple lived with York in his Tipp City home. York, 88, was reported missing on May 30, 2015. His body was found on June 3, 2015, in a park in Union, Ky. Officials ruled York’s cause of death as blunt force trauma to the back of the head.
Reach Melanie Yingst at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews