by: Mark Becker Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The first of three defendants in a triple-murder case admitted his role in the crime Thursday that happened three years ago in a south Charlotte apartment.
A mother, father and their 4-year-old daughter were killed in August 2011.
Joseph Amous pleaded guilty to two counts of accessory after the fact to murder and one count of conspiracy to commit robbery in the deaths of Lorenzo and Cheryl Graves and their daughter.
The prosecutor said Amous was not present when the Graves were killed but that he helped plan to rob Graves of drugs and money and then covered up the murders afterward.
That coverup began soon after the murders when the prosecutor said Amous went to the apartment and saw the bodies of Lorenzo and Cheryl Graves but didn’t call police.
That was new information to Graves’ brother who thought he had heard all of the details.
“He had a chance to save my niece. He couldn't save my brother and sister-in-law but he could have said 'let me call somebody,'” said Kenneth Graves.
Amous’ co-defendants, Lorenzo White and Linny Barcliff, have yet to go to trial in the case. Barcliff is facing the death penalty since prosecutors said he actually killed the family.
Amous agreed to testify against the others and is facing at least 15 years in prison but won’t be formally sentenced until their cases are complete.
And for the victims’ family, the waiting goes on.
“It's even going to be even worse now that we have to be put through this-- going through a murder all over again,” Graves said.
“It is tough because to me, it didn't take them three years to go in and kill them. We've been going through agony all over again. I'll be so glad when it's over,” said Kim Williams, Cheryl Graves’ sister.