A man pleaded no contest Thursday to second-degree murder for an attack on a 75-year-old South Los Angeles man, who suffered serious head injuries and was left bedridden until his death about 4 1/2 years later.
Harry Leon Neely Jr., 45, is facing 15 years to life in state prison when he’s sentenced Tuesday for the Aug. 13, 2005, attack on Harvey Sumpter, who was found bound and gagged inside his home, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Sumpter’s death at age 80 on Feb. 19, 2010, was ruled a homicide by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office, which cited complications from a “persistent vegetative state” and head trauma suffered in the attack.
Neely, who entered the victim’s house through a window, was identified as the assailant several years later as a result of DNA evidence and was arrested in March 2016 in Memphis, Tennessee. He has remained behind bars since then.
Neely entered his no contest plea as jury selection was underway in his trial. He would have faced a potential sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole if jurors had convicted him of first-degree murder and had found true a special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of a robbery.
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