Man initially convicted of murder, only to have case reversed, pleads guilty to lesser charges

A man convicted of murder and voluntary manslaughter in 2005 and sentenced to 40 years in prison, only to have his case reversed last year by a state appeals court, pleaded guilty Wednesday to reduced charges and was sentenced to a fraction of his former sentence.

Thomas Scott, 27, was convicted seven years ago in the shooting death of Charles Morgan Smith, 37. Scott appealed the conviction, arguing his trial attorney failed to object when a prosecutor improperly mentioned his right to remain silent. He also argued his attorney didn't object to witnesses testifying about threats they'd received.

Scott prevailed in the Georgia Court of Appeals last year, turning back the clock on his case. A Columbus grand jury reindicted him in January on charges of murder, voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, possession of cocaine and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Prosecutors dismissed on Wednesday the murder, assault and weapons charges. Scott pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and possession of cocaine and was sentenced to nine years in prison, followed by six on probation, court records state.

A codefendant in the case, 30-year-old Tory McCoy, also had his convictions of voluntary manslaughter and a weapons violation overturned. Indicted in January on the same charges plus an aggravated assault accusation, McCoy's case is still pending.

Authorities said Smith's death was drug related.

Scott was outside Booker T. Washington Apartments selling drugs in 2004 when Smith grabbed $10 worth of crack cocaine from his hand and ran, according to reports during the initial trial. Scott took the gun McCoy tossed him and chased after Smith, shooting him as he ran.