2 men plead guilty to lesser charges in shooting deaths

Two men facing murder charges pleaded to lesser offenses on Monday, though a third man still faces trial for the Dec. 17, 2008, shootings of Jarvis Sanks and Ronald Coleman.

Xavier Cannon, 24, pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and was sentenced to one year in prison, followed by four years’ probation, said Assistant District Attorney Doug Breault. His attorney, Susan Henderson, said he was to be released that day.

Dezmond A. Cannon, 18, pleaded guilty to two counts of voluntary manslaughter, two counts of armed robbery and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. He was sentenced to 27 years in prison, followed by 18 years’ probation.

“I feel good,” Breault said of the cases’ resolutions.

The third defendant, Rodney Pugh, 23, still faces trial on murder, armed robbery and aggravated assault charges, Breault said.

All three defendants were indicted on charges in connection with the deaths of Sanks and Coleman, both 30. The indictments stem from the shooting that left Sanks dead that day and led to Coleman’s death the following Sunday.

Police have said that the deceased men were delivering marijuana to the suspects at 2905 Lansing Ave. when they were ambushed.

Officers who went to the scene found Sanks, shot twice and gasping for air, slumped against a wall near an air-conditioning unit.

A witness said she heard three shots and saw someone stumble across a nearby driveway and into a silver Buick. The driver, later identified as Coleman, wrecked the vehicle on Forrest Road and died days later at The Medical Center.

Dezmond Cannon was arrested Dec. 21 after witnesses said he was the shooter. He, however, identified Pugh as the gunman.

Pugh pointed back to Dezmond Cannon as the shooter. Xavier Cannon’s name came up multiple times during Pugh’s interview with police, a detective has said.

Henderson said no credible evidence tied her client to the scene the night of the shootings.

“It’s just one of those situations where it’s not worth the roll of the dice,” she said of the guilty plea.