North Carolina Man Gets 25 Years for Baltimore Robbery Turned Shooting in 2019

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“I can’t change the pain I’ve caused. I just hope, over time, the pain does heal.”

As the family of Antonio Modica sobbed in the gallery of a Baltimore City Circuit courtroom on May 12, homicide defendant Nelson McNorton pleaded guilty to the 24-year-old’s murder in 2019 before Judge Yvette Bryant, who accepted the plea agreement between the prosecution and defense attorney Tony Garcia.

McNorton, 29, was charged with first-degree murder, multiple counts of attempted armed robbery, and several weapons charges in connection to Modica’s death on Oct. 10, 2019, inside a store on the 1900 block of West Pratt Street.

According to the agreed-upon plea, the defendant will serve life, suspending all but 25 years, and five years of supervised probation for first-degree murder, and a concurrent 20 years, the first five years without parole, for firearm use in a felony violent crime. He is also required to register as a gun offender.

The defendant previously rejected this plea offer last November.

“Obviously, in a situation like this, he is very nervous,” Garcia said, explaining that McNorton has “always expressed remorse” for his actions.

Modica’s family declined to give a victim impact statement.

The prosecutor informed Judge Bryant that McNorton was robbing the store and got into a physical altercation with the store’s co-owner and Modica, shooting the victim in the head. McNorton dropped his cell phone during the struggle, which was later found by Baltimore Police.

The defendant was arrested at his home in North Carolina after he was identified through witness interviews, a photo array, and cell phone evidence.

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