A man who struck a Corona man in the head with a shovel — killing him — pleaded guilty today to second-degree murder.
Korey Lamar Harvey, 21, attacked 22-year-old Jerrick Richardson outside a Corona residence on Dec. 2, 2011. Richardson lingered in a vegetative coma for two weeks until his family elected to remove artificial life support.
Harvey was charged with murder and a sentence-enhancing weapon allegation.
Following negotiations between defense attorney Jesse Valenzuela and Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Michelle Paradise, Harvey withdrew his not guilty plea and admitted responsibility for the crime.
Superior Court Judge Becky Dugan is expected to certify the plea deal and sentence Harvey on March 27 to 16 years to life in prison.
Had he been convicted by a jury of first-degree murder, Harvey could have faced 26 years to life behind bars.
The defendant iremains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.
Harvey attacked Richardson in the 600 block of Stoneybrook Drive, according to Corona police Lt. Brian Cervantes.
He said the defendant and a female friend were walking through the neighborhood when they encountered the victim, a woman and a teenage girl socializing outside a residence.
When Harvey and his friend approached, an argument erupted between the defendant’s companion and the two females with Richardson, Cervantes said. The reason for the clash was over a petty slight, according to prosecutors.
Harvey and the victim exchanged words as tensions boiled over, investigators said.
Richardson and his two friends were walking away when Harvey grabbed a shovel and slammed it into the side of the victim’s head, according to prosecutors.
The defendant fled the scene, and Richardson was rushed to Riverside Community Hospital, where he lingered in a coma for more than two weeks.
Doctors declared him brain dead on Dec. 19, 2011, and his family elected to remove him from life support, Cervantes said.
Harvey turned himself in the same day.