Former Orlando Magic player Keith Appling pleads guilty to second-degree murder | Basketball

A former Michigan State University basketball star pleaded guilty on Monday to second-degree murder and a firearm charge in the fatal 2021 shooting of a Detroit man.

Keith Appling, 31, pleaded guilty in a Michigan court to one count each of second-degree murder and felony firearm in the killing of Clyde Edmonds, 66, county prosecutor Kym Worthy said.

Appling pleaded guilty to the charges on the same day his trial in Edmonds’ death was set to begin.

The Detroit Pershing prep star played at Michigan State from 2010 to 2014. Appling also played professional basketball overseas and had two brief contracts with the NBA’s Orlando Magic.

He was charged in Edmonds’ murder in June 2021. Prosecutors said Appling fatally shot Edmonds on 22 May 2021, after the men argued over a handgun. Edmonds was pronounced dead at a hospital. Edmonds’ wife and Appling’s mother are first cousins, authorities said.

When Appling was first charged in June 2021, Worthy said he had been “spiraling downwards” for some time.

“Many of those that tried to intervene with this defendant were hoping that he would get on the right track and stay there,” she said in a statement. “It is always tragic when one with so much promise, talent, and possibility is alleged to have committed the most serious of crimes.”

Appling’s plea agreement calls for 18 to 40 years in prison on the second-degree murder charge and two years to be served consecutively on the firearm charge. The remaining charges Appling faced – first-degree murder, felony in possession of a firearm and a second count of felony firearm – will be dismissed at his sentencing hearing, which is set for 3 March, Worthy said in a news release.

Prosecutors said Appling’s girlfriend, Natalie Bannister, drove Appling from the shooting scene, the Detroit News reported.

She pleaded guilty last year to one count of lying to a police officer and was sentenced to 18 months of probation. A charge of accessory after the fact and a second count of lying to police were dropped under Bannister’s plea agreement.

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