RICHMOND — Five years after he was arrested, the suspected shooter in a 2016 homicide agreed to serve 27 years in state prison in a plea deal with Contra Costa prosecutors.
Karmani Ely, 24, agreed to a conviction of manslaughter, robbery, and gun enhancements and waived two-and-a-half years of credit for time served as part of the Sept. 7 plea deal. In exchange, murder charges against him were dropped, court records show.
Ely admitted to killing 21-year-old Eric Brown in an Oct. 10, 2016 marijuana robbery. Ely’s two co-defendants pleaded down to robbery after it was determined that prosecutors couldn’t pursue murder charges against them due to SB 1437, a change in state law that limits when someone can be charged with murder if they didn’t personally kill the victim.
Ely and his two co-defendants were arrested in Bay Point a day after Brown’s killing. Authorities said they found three pounds of stolen marijuana and guns during the service of search warrants in the investigation.
Five months before Brown’s death, Ely was listed as the victim in a wild attempted murder case that involved a gun battle between two moving vehicles through Antioch city streets and on Highway 4.
In that May 2016 incident, police were called to the 1100 block of Sycamore Drive in Antioch after reports of a shooting. Arriving officers discovered that unoccupied cars had been hit by gunfire, but that a black Jaguar containing two people identified by eyewitnesses as shooters had sped off, along with another car. The Jaguar’s occupants fired at the second car, and someone inside returned fire, police said at the time.
Ely was originally slated to plead guilty to first degree murder in 2019, but withdrew his plea before his sentencing, authorities said.