Judge Rejects Alford Plea in Upatoi Triple Murder Trial
Testimony: Victims treated Alleged Killer Jervarceay Tapley like Family
Three defendants, Rufus Burks, Jervarceay Tapley, and Raheam Gibson appeared poised and ready to enter a guilty plea just prior to jury selection.
And according to court testimony the family was not fired up about any potential plea deals but the State moved forward.
Assistant District Attorney Alonza Whitaker told the Judge, the Short family treated the alleged killer Jervarceay Tapley like one of the family even taking him on vacations.
Whitaker told the Judge the state has overwhelming evidence including video surveillance and cell phone records that show Tapley was involved in the crime from beginning to end.
DA Whitaker testified Gloria Short and her 10 year old Granddaughter were beaten and repeatedly stabbed to death.
Caleb they said died from blunt force trauma. Police nabbed the suspects after clothing and shoes that belonged to Caleb Short appeared online for sale.
Raheam Gibson ultimately turned himself in and cooperated with police.
Judge McBride flat rejected Tapley’s Alford Plea, a type of guilty plea where the defendant does not accept responsibility for the crime.
When the Judge asked Tapley if he was ready to take responsibility and admit his role in the slayings.
To his defense attorneys surprise, Tapley said no.
The defendants face life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The State is not seeking the Death Penalty in this case.
The Supreme Court ruled in Roper v Simmons the death penalty for anyone under the age of 18 is Cruel and Unusual Punishment and unconstitutional.
Raheam Gibson entered a guilty plea and is expected to testify against Rufus Burks and Jervarceay Tapley.
Defense Attorneys made a motion for a change of venue but the Judge ruled it was premature and jury selection is underway.