An East Naples teen involved in the 2009 killing of a Lely grad during a drug deal gone bad reached a plea agreement Tuesday. He'll testify against his alleged partner in crime as part of the deal.
Alejandro Perez, 18, of the 5300 block of Dixie Drive, will spend nine years behind bars and another five on probation for the death of 21-year-old Kyle Aaron Armantrout during a drug robbery. Without the plea agreement, he faced a minimum of 12 years and a maximum of 45 for armed robbery and third degree murder during the commission of another felony offense.
"He's cooperated with the state ... From the beginning, he's been honest," said Joshua Faett, Perez's defense attorney, after the Tuesday morning hearing.
Perez, then 15, and Jack Edward Dyson, now 20, were arrested weeks after Armantrout's death. The Sheriff's Office has also issued a warrant for another person in the car. Javier Chavez Zuniga, now 19, is wanted on charges of third degree murder and armed robbery. He has not been located and investigators believe he may no longer be in the country.
"It was a drug deal gone bad, turned into a robbery," Faett described.
Collier County sheriff's investigators said Dyson, then 18, was fleeing an East Naples parking lot in his Honda Accord with a shoebox of marijuana when he ran over Armantrout. In the back seat, investigators found $1,200 worth of marijuana that they say Armantrout was going to measure out and sell.
Armantrout's body first landed on the hood of the car before hitting the ground, where Dyson ran him over, investigators said. He later died of a head injury at Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers.
A condition of Perez's plea is his cooperation.
If Dyson also reaches a plea agreement and Perez does not have to testify, Perez will still get the deal, Faett said.
Dyson, who is accused of driving the car as it ran over Armantrout, is charged with third degree murder during the commission of another felony offense and failing to remain at a crash involving a death. His next court appearance is scheduled for March 23.
Eduardo Perez, 19, was allowed to hug his brother in the courtroom Tuesday morning for the first time since Alejandro Perez's arrest.
"I used to be like him," Eduardo Perez said. They both ran with the wrong crowd, he explained, but he got out. He just couldn't get his younger brother out fast enough, he said.
"All the new friends he made, I dropped," Eduardo Perez said. "He just got stuck."