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Accused Sniper Set to Plead Guilty

  Court Watch  -   POSTED: 2007/12/03 12:58

A teenager accused of killing one man and wounding another in a series of highway sniper shootings is expected to plead guilty to two felonies as part of a plea agreement, his lawyer said.

Zachariah Blanton, 18, is expected to appear in Jackson Circuit Court today, where Judge William Vance could approve the plea agreement.

Blanton, Gaston, was scheduled to stand trial Dec. 11 on charges of murder, attempted murder and criminal recklessness. His defense attorney, Bruce MacTavish, said his client will plead guilty to two amended felony charges, voluntary manslaughter with a deadly weapon and criminal recklessness.

A plea document was filed in Jackson Circuit Court on Friday, MacTavish said, but the agreement would not be final unless it is accepted by a judge.

Blanton is accused of firing his hunting rifle into I-65 traffic from an overpass on a Jackson County road near Seymour about 60 miles south of Indianapolis on July 23, 2006. One of those shots went through a pickup truck's windshield and killed a passenger, Jerry L. Ross, 40, New Albany. An Iowa man traveling in another pickup truck also was injured.

Blanton, who was 17 at the time, was arrested at his home two days later.

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