CLEVELAND (AP) — A 19-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to five counts of aggravated murder in the November shooting deaths of a pregnant woman and three others at a Cleveland residence.
James Sparks-Henderson II was in court Tuesday after being indicted last week. Authorities say DNA and ballistics evidence tie Sparks-Henderson to the Nov. 21 slayings and that he confessed as part of a deal to avoid the death penalty. Sparks-Henderson's attorney has said he has continuing concerns about his client's confession.
Authorities have not released a motive for the shootings.
The victims were 41-year-old Sherita Johnson, who was 28 weeks pregnant; her unborn child; 60-year-old Lemon Bryant; 19-year-old Ja'Rio Taylor; and 17-year-old Shaylona Williams. Johnson's 9-year-old daughter suffered a graze wound.