A Roanoke man was sentenced to 16 years in prison Friday for his part in a deadly robbery at a Roanoke County home last year.
Aaron Rashad Witcher, 28, pleaded no contest to charges of second-degree murder, use of a firearm in a felony, robbery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
His plea came just about two weeks shy of the anniversary of the robbery scheme that prosecutors said left one co-conspirator dead.
Witcher was recruited as muscle to help rob a home on Overland Drive of money and drugs, said assistant prosecutor Nate Griffith. He walked in with a gun and a struggle broke out with the resident.
During the scuffle, the gun went off and fatally shot 35-year-old Amber C. Ross in the neck. Ross had helped orchestrate the robbery, Griffith said.
Witcher and others fled after the shooting, authorities said. The resident took Ross to a LewisGale emergency room and left her there.
He was later tracked down, officials said, and Witcher and other suspects were identified. Incriminating texts also were found on Witcher’s phone, Griffith said.
In keeping with the terms of a plea agreement, Witcher was sentenced by Circuit Judge Charlie Dorsey to a total of 58 years with all but 16 suspended. A fifth charge of armed burglary was withdrawn under the agreement.
Witcher will be on indefinite probation upon his release. During Friday’s hearing, his attorney, Aaron Houchens, offered Witcher’s condolences to the Ross family and stressed he never meant for this to happen.
“This was not the intent when he entered the home,” Houchens said. “This was accidental after a struggle over the firearm.”
Three other people were also arrested and charged with playing a part in the robbery. Their cases are still pending.