Plea deal filed in shooting death of Jeffersonville business owner

Plea deal filed in shooting death of Jeffersonville business owner
Antonio McRae is charged with the Oct. 11, 2018 murder of Praful Patel. (Source: Phylicia Ashley)

JEFFERSONVILLE, In. (WAVE) - A man charged with the shooting death of a Jeffersonville business owner has pleaded guilty to his murder.

The News and Tribune reports Antonio McRae, 35, filed a plea in Clark County Circuit Court No. 1 on Thursday, online court records show. His attorney, Dave Mosley, confirmed Monday the details of the agreement, which has not been yet been approved by a judge.

McRae was arrested in December after more than two months of investigation into the shooting death of Praful Patel, the 49-year-old owner of the Stop N Go on Allison Lane in Jeffersonville.

Patel was found dead from a single gunshot wound Oct. 11.

Video surveillance from the store showed a person in dark clothing brandishing a gun before shooting the store owner, taking money from the cash register and fleeing on foot.

The day of an advisement hearing in December, McRae told media in the hallway of the Clark County courthouse that the shooting was unintentional.

“...I was going to just rob ... I was trying to push him (Patel) into the room and you know, he turned and grabbed the gun and tried to slam the door and the gun went off. I didn’t pull the trigger intentionally,” he said, the News and Tribune previously reported. He said that same day he intended to plead guilty to the man’s death.

“Mr. McRae has expressed grievous remorse,” Mosley said in a text message Monday. “He had no intent to cause harm much less death. I believe he wishes to accept responsibility for what he did and the cost to the family and community.”

McRae was originally charged with murder and a level 3 felony for armed robbery, but under Double Jeopardy, he cannot be convicted of both.

The filing is for a blind plea, which means the judge will determine the sentence, taking into account any aggravating or mitigating circumstances. McRae could face between 45 and 65 years.

A date has not yet been set for the court to rule on the agreement, nor has a sentencing date been scheduled.

Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull declined to comment until the plea has been finalized in court.

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