Today in Anderson County General Sessions Court defendant Ahmad Neely pled guilty to charges of Voluntary Manslaughter, Criminal Conspiracy, and Possession of a Weapon During the Commission of a Violent Crime for the 2017 killing of Charles Hillery. Neely received a negotiated 30 year active jail sentence. The plea was entered before the Honorable R. Scott Sprouse with attorney Tom Quinn representing the defendant and Senior Assistant Solicitor Lauren Davis Price representing the State. 

On August 13, 2017, Ahmed Neely and 4 co­defendants (Kailyn Dupree, Kemijai Anderson, Ethan Nichols, and Michelle Kirksey) conspired to commit an armed robbery of Travis Perry, who lived on Robinson Street in Pendleton. They believed Perry was a drug dealer and would have cash they could take from him. They retrieved a gun and drove to Perry’s residence. Their plan was for the three male co­defendants to rush into the house and commit the robbery, with Kailyn Dupree acting as their getaway driver. Michelle Kirksey had already proceeded to the home of Mr. Perry, as they had a prior relationship, and her role was to distract him and disarm him. It was confirmed by text messages sent between the defendants that Ms. Kirksey had successfully taken Mr. Perry’s gun and hidden it from him in his closet so he would be unarmed when the other co­defendants arrived. However, the group had not accounted for Mr. Perry’s housemate, Charles Hillery, who was on the front porch of the residence when the car pulled up and as the three male co­defendants approached. Anderson and Nichols, seeing Mr. Hillery, fled. Neely, however, engaged in a confrontation with Mr. Hillery. Mr. Hillary had a gun in his hand when he was struggling with Neely, but it was never fired, and it had apparently jammed. The defendant and Mr. Hillery struggled with one another, and during the struggle Neely stabbed Mr. Hillery at least 28 times, causing injuries which resulted in his death. Charles Hillery had no prior dealings or familiarity with the co­defendants in this case prior to this incident. 

Kailyn Dupree pled guilty to Attempted Armed Robbery and Accessory After the Fact to Murder, Kemijai Anderson pled guilty to Attempted Armed Robbery and Criminal Conspiracy, Ethan Nichols pled guilty to Accessory After the Fact to Murder and Criminal Conspiracy, and Michelle Guadalupe Kirksey pled guilty to Attempted AR and Criminal Conspiracy. All are now awaiting sentencing by the Court. 

Following the entering of the guilty plea, Solicitor David Wagner made the following statement: “This was a senseless act of violence committed by a young man who will now spend more years in jail than he has spent living on earth because he chose to take the life of another. I hope that young people who would be enticed to commit crimes in a misguided attempt to get cash fast will see how tragic this is and will instead pursue honest means of getting ahead through hard work.”