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Judge cuts sentence for accomplice in killing.

Byline: Gary V. Murray

WORCESTER - A Worcester woman who cut a deal with prosecutors that required her to testify against one of her co-defendants in the 2006 beating death of Billy Lindell received a reduced sentence yesterday.

Krystal Harper, 19, of 15 Marion Ave. was one of six people indicted on murder and related charges in the July 16, 2006, killing of the 24-year-old Mr. Lindell during a burglary gone awry in the victim's Chandler Street apartment. The fifth-floor apartment at 19 Chandler St. was later set on fire in what investigators said was an attempt to get rid of evidence.

Ms. Harper pleaded guilty June 19 in Worcester Superior Court to charges of manslaughter, armed robbery, unarmed burglary and larceny of a motor vehicle and was sentenced to 4 to 5 years in state prison with 2 years of probation to follow.

The sentence imposed by Judge John S. McCann was recommended at that time by Assistant District Attorney Lawrence J. Murphy and Ms. Harper's lawyer, Brian J. Buckley. Ms. Harper testified as a prosecution witness at the trial of one of her co-defendants, 24-year-old Randy Jordan, who was acquitted of all charges but unarmed robbery and sentenced to 6 to 9 years' imprisonment.

Yesterday, Judge McCann allowed a motion filed by Mr. Buckley asking him to revoke Ms. Harper's 4- to 5-year prison term and revise the sentence to one of 3 years to 3 years and a day. Mr. Buckley argued that Ms. Harper's "level of participation" in the crime was similar to that of 20-year-old Jenny Burns, another of her co-defendants, who pleaded guilty to the same charges Ms. Harper did on June 19 and received a sentence of 3 years to 3 years and a day.

Unlike Ms. Burns, who did not testify at Mr. Jordan's trial, Ms. Harper "did the right thing and cooperated with the government," Mr. Buckley said, adding that both women came from "troubled backgrounds."

Mr. Murphy, who had also recommended a sentence of 4 to 5 years for Ms. Burns, said yesterday he was leaving Ms. Harper's request for a sentence reduction to the court's discretion.

Mr. Buckley and Ms. Burns' lawyer, Robert L. Jubinville Jr., told Judge McCann during the June 19 plea hearing that their clients were the least culpable of the six people charged in Mr. Lindell's killing. Mr. Jubinville said the four male defendants in the case were "the leading figures."

One of those men, 21-year-old Timothy C. Newell, was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a possibility of parole in 15 years, and to a consecutive prison term of 8 to 10 years, after pleading guilty to second-degree murder and other charges.

Two others, Joseph M. Stewart and George Franceschi, were allowed to plead guilty to reduced charges of manslaughter. Mr. Stewart was sentenced to 10 to 12 years, and Mr. Franceschi was sentenced to 18 to 20 years under plea agreements. Both men also testified at Mr. Jordan's trial.

Mr. Buckley said Ms. Harper would be released in July under the revised sentence. She will then begin her two-year period of probation.

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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Mar 5, 2009

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