Felix D’Allesandro, who was convicted in 2004 in connection with the death of David George but saw the conviction overturned, will likely spend another decade in prison.
D’Allesandro, 32, pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of first-degree murder. He entered the plea before Thurston County Superior Court Judge Mary Sue Wilson about two years after the state Court of Appeals overturned his previous conviction.
He won’t be sentenced until later this month.
His co-defendant in the case, Mert Celebisoy, 34, remains in custody at the Stafford Creek Corrections Center in Aberdeen. He was sentenced in 2004 to 28 years, 8 months in prison.
Thurston County Prosecutor Jon Tunheim recommended that D’Allesandro be sentenced to 23 years, 4 months in prison, with credit for time served. He has spent the past 14 years — the time since George’s death — in custody.
His original sentence was for 32 years in prison.
Police began investigating Celebisoy and D’Allesandro in July of 2003, after George’s remains were found in shallow graves off Libby Road in Thurston County, according to court documents.
An investigation led detectives to an Olympia attic, where they found garbage bags containing bloody sheets and a spare wheel cover from a car. They also found paperwork containing D’Allesandro’s name.
When detectives searched D’Allesandro’s car, they found that the carpeting in the trunk had been replaced and that the cover for the spare wheel was missing, according to court documents.
Celebisoy and D’Allesandro eventually told detectives that they had picked up George in the car earlier that year. However, each man accused the other of stabbing him.
D’Allesandro reported that George stumbled from the car, and Celebisoy put him in the trunk. The men said they worked together to dispose of George’s body and clean the car, according to court documents.
During Wednesday’s court hearing, D’Allesandro said again that Celebisoy was responsible for George’s death — but he had been an accomplice.
“Mert Celebisoy stabbed David Lorenzo George with a knife in my presence,” D’Allesandro said. “While Mr. George was still alive, and acting with grave indifference to whether he lived or died, I helped Mr. Celebisoy place Mr. George in the trunk of my car. I then drove the car away from where the stabbing occurred. While he was in the trunk of my car, Mr. George died.”
Tunheim said that the sentencing will likely occur later this month so that George’s family members, who live outside of Washington, can be present.