Two of the three brothers involved in an ambush at a Prince George’s County police station that resulted in an officer’s death last year pleaded guilty in court Tuesday.
Malik and Elijah Ford appeared separately in court in prison garb for their role in the death of Detective Jacai Colson.
Colson’s parents attended the court proceedings. His mother, Shelia, held a portrait of Jacai in a police uniform.
“The Colsons are obviously still grieving,” said police union President John Teletchea, who was among the more than two dozen officers who attended the hearings. “They have suffered a loss hopefully none of us have to experience. We need to rely on one another to make sure that we come through this process whole, healed and better than we were before.”
As part of the plea agreements approved by Judge Lawrence Hill, both men each received a maximum of 50 years in prison but will be reduced.
Malik Ford, 22, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted second-degree murder, use of a handgun in commission of a felony and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. He will serve at least 20 years in prison. Elijah Ford, 19, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and will serve at least 12 years in prison.
Formal sentencing for both men is set for May 4.
The date would change because their oldest brother, Michael Ford, had his hearing continued Tuesday for a later date. His attorney, Antoini M. Jones, said his client will take his case to trial next year.
According to authorities, Michael Ford, 24, planned to shoot at the District III police station in Landover and asked for his brothers’ help.
Colson, an undercover officer in plainclothes at the time of the attack, returned fire during the gun exchange. A fellow officer mistook Colson for one of the attackers and shot him.
Michael Ford faces numerous charges, including second-degree murder, 11 counts of first-degree assault and six counts of attempted murder.
Malik Ford agreed to drive a car from their mother’s home in Landover to the police station and record his brother in “a shootout” with police.
Police Chief Hank Stawinski and Prince George’s State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks approved of the judge’s decision to grant the plea agreements.
“It was a really horrific case for all us. Our prayers and thoughts continue to be with the Colson family and with the entire community,” Alsobrooks said Tuesday outside the courthouse. “This case has been extraordinarily difficult. These brothers sat in a car together and agreed to go … shoot at a police station … and go and kill innocent individuals.”