Man pleads guilty to shooting NC trooper in Durham last year

tgoldsmith@newsobserver.comJanuary 14, 2014 

— The man charged with the up-close shooting of state trooper Michael Potts last year pleaded guilty Tuesday to attempted first-degree murder and other charges, resolving a case that drew widespread attention because of its ferocity and Potts’ heroic recovery.

The pleas entered by Mikel Brady II, 24, in Durham County Superior Court could bring a sentence of more than 24 years and were the result of extended negotiations involving Potts, acting District Attorney Leon Stanback said Tuesday. Potts responded with a written statement.

“I’m very pleased with the hard work of the Durham district attorney’s office in this case, and grateful to the law enforcement officers who put in countless hours of hard work,” he said. “I also thank the thousands of supporters, including the Governor, that my family and I had during the hardest time of our lives. We look forward to moving ahead now that we have this closure.”

In addition to the murder charge, Brady also pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and assault with a firearm on a law enforcement officer. He also still faces a federal charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

“We consulted with the office about this, and we came to the conclusion that this was a good resolution of the charges, particularly in light of the fact that he still has federal charges against him,” Stanback said.

A sentencing date for the state charges has not been set.

Potts, then 42, was shot in the face, his right shoulder and his hands after he pulled Brady over on U.S. 70 just east of Durham on Feb. 18, in part because Brady wasn’t wearing a seat belt. Brady was on probation with federal authorities following a conviction for theft of explosives and was on the run from a Vermont prison furlough program.

He had several other criminal convictions, including one in 2009 for a home invasion of a woman with traumatic brain injury.

State law enforcement officials said at the time of the shooting that Brady shot the trooper four times “at extremely close range.” The incident was recorded by Potts’ patrol car video camera. The trooper made it back to his car and radioed in a description of Brady and the car he was driving.

Brady was arrested the next morning at an apartment in the Brier Creek area of Raleigh.

Potts is a retired professional baseball player and had recovered well enough by April to throw out the first pitch at the season opener for his former team, the Durham Bulls.

Goldsmith: 919-829-8929

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service