Keyshon Zimmerman, the 25-year-old New Haven resident accused of taking part in a guns-for-crack exchange in Shelton last April, accepted a plea deal Monday from state prosecutors.
The deal, which will likely land Zimmerman in jail for four years, allows Zimmerman to plead to three of the almost 30 criminal and motor vehicle charges he faced.
As a condition of the plea agreement outlined during a hearing at Superior Court in Milford, the remaining charges against Zimmerman will be dismissed.
Zimmerman, who has been in jail since he was arrested in April 2010, pleaded guilty to three charges under the Alford Doctrine — in which he disputes some of the facts in the case but concedes the state likely has enough to convict him at trial.
The charges stem from three different incidents:
Attempted theft of a firearm: In April 2010, police in Shelton, Derby and Seymour made several arrests in what they called a gun and crack sale operation. Police had an informant try to trade a handgun for crack cocaine in a swap set up on Canal Street in April. Zimmerman was the person who took the gun and handed the informant the crack cocaine, state prosecutor Marjorie Sozanski said in court Monday.
Assault on a public safety officer In January 2010, Zimmerman resisted arrest from Ansonia officers, who were trying to serve a warrant for another incident, according to Sozanski. In resisting, Zimmerman hit a police officer in the face, Sozanksi said.
Violation of probation: In July 2009, Zimmerman was arrested for an assault on Olson Drive. Zimmerman was out of jail on probation, and getting arrested violated the terms of that probation.
During the hearing, Zimmerman’s attorney, Robert Pickering, said Zimmerman was taking the plea deal because of the violation of probation charge.
While the other criminal charges could eventually be heard before a jury at a trial, the violation of probation charge would eventually end up at a hearing in front of a judge, according to Judge Richard Arnold.
Under the plea deal, Zimmerman faces four years for the attempted theft of a firearm charge, and three years and ten months for the other charges. The sentences will be served at the same time, and the past 11 months Zimmerman spent in jail will count toward it.
He would have faced up to 15 years in jail without the plea deal.
Zimmerman has spent time in jail before — for a 2005 shooting on Anson Street in Derby. He was locked up for three years, and had five years of probation following his release.
After getting out of jail, Zimmerman was arrested several times.
The rest of Zimmerman’s charges will be nolled — meaning the state will not prosecute Zimmerman.
Those charges include:
- three counts of third-degree assault for various incidents in Ansonia
- breach of peace charges for various incidents in Ansonia and Derby
- the remaining charges from the guns-for-crack investigation, which include sale of illegal drugs, carrying a pistol without a permit, and possession of a controlled substance within 1,500 feet of a school, housing project or day care center.
- a second-degree threatening charge for an incident in Derby in December 2009
- several motor vehicle offenses, including driving an unregistered snow mobile or ATV, driving with a suspended license, and running a stop sign.
Two other men arrested with Zimmerman in April 2010 have pleaded not guilty to the charges. Their cases are headed toward a trial. The men — Roosevelt Scott and Tyrone Daniels — are scheduled to appear at Superior Court in Derby on March 17.
The gun and drug case started with the theft of a gun from an office on Canal Street, April 2, according to Shelton Police Detective Ben Trabka.
That kicked off a Derby-Shelton investigation. Cops issued seven search and seizure warrants, which gave them access to a number of houses and vehicles in the Valley.
As part of the probe, police also set up the drugs-for-gun sting operation.
At the time of the arrest, police said the drug ring had connections to a Derby homicide in 2009, but never said who, if any of those arrested, might have been involved in the shooting.
No one has been charged for the fatal shooting, in which Rodney Trent Baldwin was gunned down on Hawthorne Avenue.