The accused shooter in a wild November car chase that ended with a man dead admitted to the killing on Tuesday.
Nicholas Khan, 20, of Schenectady, pleaded guilty in Schenectady County Court to one count of second-degree murder.
In return for his plea, Khan is to receive 20 years to life in state prison. The plea came less than four months after Khan gunned down William Riddick on Norwood Avenue late on Nov. 12.
The shooting was in retaliation for Riddick and another man taking Khan’s car at gunpoint earlier in the evening, prosecutors have said.
In court Tuesday morning, Khan responded with a simple “yes” when visiting Judge Richard Giardino cited the basic allegations in the case and asked if they were true.
Khan is to be sentenced in April. Had he gone to trial and been convicted, he would have faced up to 25 years to life on the murder count and possible consecutive time for related convictions.
Prosecutor Philip Mueller afterward noted that the agreed-upon sentence was five years under the maximum on the murder charge. Consecutive time, while possible after a trial and convictions, also was not guaranteed.
“So I consider it a good disposition,” Mueller said.
Khan is represented by attorney Mark Caruso, who declined to comment after Tuesday’s proceedings.
Khan’s guilty plea came a month after co-defendant Gilbert Williams pleaded guilty in his own case to first-degree manslaughter. Williams is to receive 10 years in prison at his sentencing.
Still to be resolved are the perjury case of Khan’s girlfriend Tashiana Keller and the robbery case of Dayshon McKenzie.
McKenzie was allegedly Riddick’s passenger, the two having robbed Khan of his car earlier in the night.
Mueller commended the work of Schenectady police detectives Peter Forth and Thomas Ciampolillo. The detectives, Mueller said, “presented us with a very strong case.”
The case only got stronger, Mueller said.
He also credited help from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. At the time of the shooting, federal investigators were also looking into Khan’s drug dealings.
As part of Tuesday’s plea deal, Mueller said his office won’t prosecute Khan on state drug charges. The plea, however, does not bar federal authorities from pursuing them.
Khan was picked up quickly by detectives and he confessed to being the shooter, Mueller said. But he also concealed the involvement of others, requiring further investigation.
Investigators were led to Khan through witnesses and street cameras. The cameras captured parts of the chase. The pursuing car was registered to Williams and investigators learned that Williams and Khan were commonly seen in that kind of vehicle, Mueller said.
Shots ring out 3 times
The sequence of events began on Chestnut Street earlier in the evening, when Khan was standing outside his car conducting a drug deal, officials have said. His girlfriend Keller was inside.
At that point, Riddick and McKenzie moved in, assaulted Khan, ordered Keller out and stole the car.
Khan and Williams then went out looking to retaliate. They spotted Riddick and McKenzie in a different car on Crane Street. The alleged car thieves had since parked Khan’s car and gotten into a different car.
Khan, as a passenger, was accused of firing at least three volleys of shots. The first was near the corner of Eighth Avenue and Webster Street, the second at First Avenue and Orchard Street. The fatal volley was fired on Norwood Avenue.