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Facing new trial, man admits to 2003 slaying

A former Mattapan resident pleaded guilty Wednesday to voluntary manslaughter and weapons charges for his role in a 2003 slaying of another man in Dorchester.

Linrose Woodbine, 36, made the plea in Suffolk Superior Court less than a year after the state’s highest court had thrown out his first-degree murder conviction in the case. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison Wednesday, with credit for time served since his arrest nine years ago, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s ­office said.

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If the Supreme Judicial Court had not overturned his murder conviction in the Dec. 15, 2003, fatal shooting of ­Aston Dwayne Thompson outside a Wales Street apartment, Woodbine would have faced a life term.

The lesser sentence is “better than spending the rest of his life in prison, but then again, he didn’t get a fair trial,” Woodbine’s lawyer, James Sultan, said in a phone interview.

Prosecutors said Woodbine and another man, whom ­authorities have not identified and who remains at large, shot Thompson, 28, several times during a robbery attempt ­behind the apartment.

A jury convicted Woodbine of first-degree murder in 2007, but the SJC overturned that conviction in March on several grounds, including flawed testimony concerning unrecorded statements that Woodbine had made to a detective.

The SJC ordered a new trial, but Woodbine chose to plead guilty, in part because he did not want to risk spending the rest of his life behind bars, ­Sultan said.

He said Woodbine also opted for the plea deal “because he wanted to take responsibility, and, as he said in open court ­today, he didn’t want to put the victim’s family or his family through another trial.”

Sultan indicated in court that Woodbine will probably be deported to Jamaica when he completes his sentence, ­Conley’s office said.

Thompson’s relatives could not be located Wednesday.

Jake Wark, spokesman for Conley, said in e-mail that the investigation into the second gunman’s identity remains open and that there is no statute of limitations for murder.

“For that reason, even nine years hence, we urge anyone with information on the case to contact Boston police homicide detectives at 617-343-4470,” Wark said.

Travis Andersen can be reached at
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