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Teen suspects in fatal carjacking of pastor's wife plead guilty to manslaughter

Robinson is expected to receive a 30-year sentence and Cottrell a 12-year sentence.

NEW ORLEANS — Two teenagers accused of killing a New Orleans pastor’s wife during a carjacking pleaded guilty to the crime.

According to District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office, Jontrell Robinson, 18, and Edwin Cottrell, 19, avoided their murder trial by pleading guilty to manslaughter in connection with the death of Jeannot Plessy. 

They also pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree murder, conspiracy to obstruct justice, simple robbery, conspiracy to commit simple robbery and unauthorized use of a movable (taking or using someone’s vehicle without their consent).

The plea agreement was approved by Plessy’s family, according to officials. Robinson is expected to receive a 30-year sentence and Cottrell a 12-year sentence.

According to NOPD, 49-year-old Plessy arrived at her daughter’s home in November of 2018 to pick up two of her preteen grandchildren. Plessy was yanked out of her vehicle and thrown to the ground by Robinson, who then got into the drivers seat while Cotrell and an unidentified 14-year-old waited in a different vehicle.

When Plessy’s son-in-law heard screams, he tried to intervene. Robinson then accelerated the vehicle in reverse, striking both Plessy and her son-in-law. 

The 14-year-old suspect pleaded guilty to his role in Plessy’s killing in May of 2019 and was sentenced to six months in prison and 18 months parole.

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"This tragic case serves as a stark reminder of the quick, violent turns that can take place when young offenders are involved in carjackings, auto thefts and vehicle burglaries," Cannizzaro said. "These incidents can flip from non-violent to deadly in a split-second, as we have seen when Jeannot Plessy and Zelda Townsend lost their lives. For anyone to dismiss such crime as a 'nuisance' disrespects the lives lost and does a disservice to us all."

Assistant District Attorneys Kevin Guillory and Arthur Mitchell IV prosecuted the case.

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