BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Baltimore man has plead guilty to participating in the murder of a federal witness and two others inside a barn in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Jerell Adgebesan, 34, pleaded guilty on Monday to participating in the killing of Wendy Chaney, 39, of Hagerstown, Maryland, Brandon Cole, 47, of Fayetteville, Pennsylvania, and Phillip Jackson, 36, Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, on June 25, 2016, federal officials said. 

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Chaney, Cole, and Jackson were shot in a barn on Jackson’s property, according to authorities. 

Chaney was cooperating with state and federal drug investigators at the time she was murdered, officials said. 

The three gunshot victims “had their hands zippedtied behind their backs and had been set on fire,” according to a federal document.

“Jackson and Cole were shot once in the head,” the document stated. “Chaney was shot twice, once in the back and once in the head. Wendy Chaney and Brandon Cole were already dead when the police responded to the scene. Phillip Jackson was transported to York Hospital where he died shortly after arrival.”

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A six-year investigation into the murders led investigators to believe Adgebesan knew the three murder victims from Baltimore, according to the document. He and his co-defendant, Devin Dickerson, two alleged members of the Black Guerilla Family, were contracted to kill Chaney after learning that she was cooperating with federal authorities, officials said.

In exchange for the killing of Chaney, the two men were allegedly promised that they could take $20,000 that was supposed to be inside a safe in a barn and any drugs or firearms they could find on the property, according to authorities.

But they never found any money. Instead, they stole some drugs and firearms, officials said.

Adgebesan, who also has ties to Hagerstown, Maryland, entered a guilty plea before United States District Court Judge Christopher C. Conner. He faces a possible life sentence, federal officials said.

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Several other people have been tied to the murders and have either pleaded guilty and are awaiting trial or have been found guilty following a trial, according to authorities.

  • Kevin Coles, 36, of New York City, New York, and Hagerstown, Maryland, was found guilty after a guilty trial in April of multiple crimes, including murder for hire, robbery, and drug trafficking, and is awaiting sentencing.
  • Devin Dickerson, 31, of Hagerstown, Maryland, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin and crack cocaine and is awaiting sentencing; 
  • Kenyatta Corbett, 38, of Hagerstown, Maryland, pleaded guilty to Hobbs Act robbery and to being an accomplice to the use of a firearm during Hobbs Act robbery and is awaiting sentencing.
  • Michael Buck, 30,  of Hagerstown, Maryland, pleaded guilty to Hobbs Act robbery and to being an accomplice to the use of a firearm during Hobbs Act robbery and is awaiting sentencing.
  • Nicholas Preddy, 29, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty to attempting to kill a witness and is awaiting sentencing.
  • Johnnie Jenkins-Armstrong, 22, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty to Hobbs Act robbery and to being an accomplice to the use of a firearm during Hobbs Act robbery and is awaiting sentencing.
  • Terrance Lawson, 31, of Baltimore, Maryland, was sentenced to time served for attempting to intimidate a witness.
  • Tyrone Armstrong, 30, of Baltimore, Maryland, was sentenced to time served for attempting to intimidate a witness.
  • Christopher Johnson, 31, of Baltimore, Maryland, has pleaded guilty to multiple counts including murder for hire and is awaiting sentencing.
  • Mark Johnson, 35, Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty to obstructing the grand jury’s investigation and is awaiting sentencing.
  • Llesenia Woodard, 46, of Hagerstown, Maryland, pleaded guilty to providing false testimony to the grand jury investigating the murders and is awaiting sentencing. 
  • Joshua Davis, 30, previously pled guilty to participating in the conspiracy to locate and kill an individual believed to be cooperating with federal authorities in the investigation of the triple murders. Davis was sentenced to serve 100 months’ imprisonment, according to authorities. 
  • Torey White’s trial is scheduled for January 2023.

CBS Baltimore Staff