ORLANDO, Fla. – The man accused of running down an Orlando police officer in 2015 reached a plea deal Tuesday on attempted murder charges ahead of his trial.
Edward Kelty, now 20, was 17 years old at the time of the crash. He is charged with attempted murder after authorities said he struck Officer William Anderson.
A plea deal was reached before jury selection could begin Tuesday. Kelty pleaded no contest on one count of aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer. An Oct. 20 sentencing hearing will determine how much time Kelty will serve. He faced up to life in prison on the attempted murder charge. At a minimum he could serve eight years.
Public defender Roger Weeden said Kelty took the deal because it was much better than the original deal of 15 years in prison. He said Kelty is remorseful.
"This was a very difficult, tragic situation where we intend to also produce and show at the sentencing that the officer was not struck directly by the vehicle," Weeden said.
In July 2015, Anderson pulled over a car while investigating a call about shots fired on Kirkman Road. Investigators said Anderson went around the front of the car when a passenger in that vehicle started running. Police said Kelty, who was driving, sped up and hit Anderson.
Kelty and another teen, Angel Nieves, were arrested. Nieves was sentenced to five years in prison and given credit for the 488 days he already served.
Anderson suffered a traumatic brain injury, which forced him to retire from the force.
Leading up to the trial, Anderson was against a plea deal for Kelty.
"He needs to understand what I've been going through on a daily basis," Anderson said months ago. "This isn't 10 years worth of injuries, it's permanent. He needs to go to trial and, of course, we need him to be found guilty."
Anderson was in court Tuesday and said he was upset by the decision after two years of preparing for a trial.
"I'm just curious as to why he decided to pick a jury and strung it out over two years," Anderson said. "If you wanted to plead to your highest charge then you should have plead to the judge day one. So why do it now?"