Updated at: 12/19/2012 4:06 PM
By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN
(AP) NEW ORLEANS - A plea deal calls for a New Orleans man to be sentenced to 30 years in prison for his role in five killings in 2007, including the shooting of an off-duty police officer.
Steven Earl Hardrick is scheduled to plead guilty Thursday to five of the 17 counts he faced in a March indictment. A court filing Wednesday discloses the terms of his plea agreement with federal prosecutors.
Some of the victims’ family members have told prosecutors they believe the sentence is too lenient.
But prosecutors say the case against Hardrick was weakened by false confessions, newly discovered evidence and a lack of eyewitnesses and forensic facts.
Hardrick can withdraw his guilty plea if U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance sentences him to more than 30 years.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)