WEST CHESTER — The man who authorities say arranged a drug-related robbery that left a Phoenixville-area teenager dead outside the local Dunkin’ Donuts has pleaded guilty to charges in the case, a few days after the final suspect in the shooting was held for trial.
On Friday before Chester County Court Judge Alison Bell Royer, defendant John Leonard McCoy III quietly answered “yes” when the judge asked him if he wished to plead guilty to charges of third-degree murder, robbery, and conspiracy to commit robbery.
The plea came with no formal sentence attached, and McCoy was returned to Chester County Prison to await sentencing. His co-defendants, John “Gotti” Ortiz-Carr and Brian Keith “Redz” Corsey, are both awaiting trial before Royer.
McCoy, 23, of Pottstown, and Corsey, 25, of Philadelphia, have been in custody since their arrests in the spring, but Ortiz-Carr, 25, of Pottstown, was not picked up until late last year. Court records show that he was arrested in December, but there was no information available about the circumstances. He was held for court at a proceeding before District Judge JoAnn Teyral on Jan. 9.
Ortiz-Carr’s attorney, Mark Conte of the West Chester law firm of Kelly & Conte, could not be reached for comment on Friday.
All three defendants are charged in the murder of 15-year-old Jason Ortiz-Cameron, a Phoenixville Area High School student. He died of a single gunshot wound to the head.
On Dec. 27, 2017, McCoy set up a drug transaction with a man he knew in Phoenixville, whose name has been withheld for his protection, according to the facts of the case as laid out for Royer by Deputy District Attorney Carlos Barraza. Before going to Phoenixville to complete the buy, McCoy met with Corsey and Ortiz-Carr to discuss robbing the man of whatever marijuana he had on him at the time of the deal.
Barraza said that McCoy was the one of the three who organized not only the original proposed marijuana buy, but also the plan to rob the man. Corsey agreed to let the men use his 2007 black Ford Focus, and the three drove from Pottstown, where McCoy and Ortiz-Carr lived, to Phoenixville. McCoy drove, while Ortiz-Carr was the front passenger and Corsey in the back seat.
One there, they met with the man with the drugs and Ortiz-Cameron at the Dunkin’ Donuts in the 200 block of Nutt Road. The trio first circled the shop’s parking lot to make sure they were not being followed. Corsey tried to get the pair to get inside the car, but the two refused and walked away after showing Corsey the marijuana they had on them.
At some point, Corsey got out of the car, as did McCoy. Corsey confronted Ortiz-Cameron while the other man went to speak with McCoy at the side of the car. The two squared off to fight as McCoy told the man, “You don’t want go over there,” meaning towards where Corsey and Ortiz-Cameron were standing. Corsey then pulled out a small semi-automatic handgun, cocked it, pointed it at Ortiz-Cameron and began to rifle through the teenager’s pockets. He then fired a single shot and Ortiz-Cameron fell to the ground, mortally wounded.
The three men jumped back in the car, with Ortiz-Carr driving, and went back to the house in Pottstown where they had initially planned the robbery. They spilt up the marijuana they had stolen, and began to dispose of evidence related to the murder, before McCoy fled to Philadelphia.
Witnesses were able to tell investigators about who had committed the murder and what happened, and McCoy was arrested by Phoenixville Detective Nicholas Natale in April. Corsey was apprehended after a standoff with police at a location outside Atlanta, Ga., in May.
Corsey is charged with first-degree murder and robbery, while McCoy and Ortiz-Carr were each charged with second-degree murder and robbery. Both of those charges carry with them mandatory life sentences in state prison, while the third-degree murder that McCoy pleaded guilty to on Friday carries a maximum term of 20-to-40 years in prison.
McCoy, dressed in a ark blue suit and wearing glasses, was accompanied by his attorney, Thomas J. Carroll of Bethlehem. His parents were also in the courtroom as he entered the plea.
To contact Chester County courthouse reporter Michael P. Rellahan, call 610-696-1544.
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