COURT UPHOLDS SLAYING PLEA DEAL MAN SENTENCED TO 57 YEARS IN PRISON FOR SHOOTING PALMDALE MAN TO DEATH.
An appeals court has upheld the voluntary-manslaughter plea bargain of an ex-convict who was sentenced to 57 years in prison for the January 2002 slaying of a Palmdale man who was shot to death and then burned in a stolen car.
Tommy Lee Wickerd, 39, was convicted on his plea in the killing of Timothy Lee Carter, whose badly charred body was found in the trunk of a 1989 Toyota Camry that was set on fire at night in a field at the western end of Avenue M.
Wickerd pleaded guilty in 2005 to voluntary manslaughter with enhancements for gun use, gang affiliation and having three prior prison terms. In return for the guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to dismiss a murder charge.
Wickerd must serve 85 percent of the prison sentence before he is eligible for parole. The appeals court released its ruling last week.
Wickerd and Carter had a long-standing feud, having dated and fathered children with the same woman, the ruling said, citing a probation report. Wickerd shot Carter multiple times in the head and chest at a residence, then put his body in the trunk of a stolen car, the ruling said. The vehicle was discovered by a sheriff's deputy, and the body, which was burned beyond recognition, was found in the trunk.
Wickerd was arrested Jan.30, 2002, in a stolen truck after he led sheriff's deputies on a chase around downtown Palmdale, ramming a patrol car when deputies tried to force him into a cul-de-sac.
Convicted of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, Wickerd was sentenced to 10 years. He earlier served prison sentences for thefts, assault with a deadly weapon and making threats, records show.