Capital Gazette wins special Pulitzer Prize citation for coverage of newsroom shooting that killed five

Annapolis man pleads guilty to murder in Jan. 30 shooting

A 20-year-old Annapolis man pleaded guilty Monday to first-degree murder of a man in a deal that could win him a shortened sentence for testifying against a friend.

Anne Arundel County prosecutor Michelle Smith recommended to Circuit Court Judge J. Michael Wachs that William Randolph Chase serve 55 years of a life term — contingent upon his testimony in the November murder trial of Chase's friend, Charles Spriggs. However, the plea deal allows Chase's lawyer, John McKenna, to seek a shorter prison term.

The judge is scheduled to sentence Chase on Dec. 3, after he testifies in the Nov. 5 trial of Spriggs, 26, an Annapolis man facing first-degree murder and related charges. Both Chase and Spriggs are currently jailed.

Smith contends that on Jan. 23, Spriggs and Chase confronted Howard Durley, 30, at an Annapolis playground. Durley was shot once, then attempted to flee. A witness told investigators she saw Chase follow Durley while a second man acted as lookout, Smith said. The witness said she heard another gunshot. Durley was found dead in the 1900 block of Copeland Street, the prosecutor said.

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