Richard Pannell pleaded guilty today in Houston Superior Court to murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during a crime. He received a life sentence plus five years to serve.
The Honorable George F. Nunn, Jr., handed down the sentence. Kelly Burke, District Attorney, represented the State. Carolyn Hall and Shelese Amos of the Public Defender’s Office represented Pannell.
Pannell was indicted by a grand jury just two days ago for the murder of Selicia Darlington on Friday, June 23, 2006, in Warner Robins. The murder occurred apparently during a dispute between the victim and defendant. The victim suffered some abrasions and bruising prior to being shot by the defendant. The basis for the argument is not known except to the defendant.
The defendant had been previously charged with assaulting the victim on May 24, 2006, for an incident that occurred in Bibb County at Macon Tech. In that incident the defendant slapped the victim, which was witnessed by security guards at Macon Tech. Pannell also was on a pre-trial release from United States District Court in Macon for gun trafficking charges. Those charges are still in place as of today.
Kelly Burke, DA: “Mr. Pannell’s acceptance of responsibility this quickly is unusual, but it does not diminish his horrible act. Selicia was, by all accounts, a wonderful young lady with a promising career and life. Pannell’s act was purposeful and deadly. Pannell’s vicious act snuffed out her young life, for which he will pay the price for the remainder of his life. The State wants to congratulate Det. Meredith Edwards and her colleagues at the Warner Robins Police Department for an incredibly thorough and comprehensive investigation. There was no doubt in the minds of those investigating this murder that this was no accident. It was incredible police work that made it possible to take a case from murder to sentence in only 6 days. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to Ms. Darlington’s family and we hope for them peace and closure as a result of the resolution of this matter.”