Tyrik Cohee apologized to Carmel Stoliby’s family Wednesday afternoon when he appeared in Carter County District Court and pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in connection with the September 2015 shooting death of the Ardmore High School student.
Cohee and his codefendant, Evan Knox, were both 16 when the slaying occurred. Dressed in the orange jumpsuits of jailhouse inmates and wearing both wrist and ankle shackles the former Ardmore High School students were escorted into the Carter County Courthouse for initial appearances just days after the murder. The two calmly and quietly listened as the judge told them they had a right  to a preliminary hearing, as well as a trial deliberated by 12 jurors. But the calm exterior began to dissolve as the judge read the contents of the first-degree murder charge filed against them. Knox began to shake his head no and the teens’ show of emotion began to match those of several of members of their families and supporters who filled the courtroom, as the judge detailed the charge.
The duo was ordered bound over for trial on a charge of
first-degree murder following a preliminary hearing in December. But two months later, District Attorney Craig Ladd dropped the charge against Knox citing “newly discovered evidence.” Ladd said the new information indicates “reasonable doubt exists as to whether Knox knew of Cohee’s intentions to shoot the victim prior to his firing the fatal shot.”
Cohee, remained charged with first-degree murder in connection with Stoliby’s death. The charge accused him of approaching the back door of Stoliby’s residence, knocking on the door, and when Stoliby came to the door and opened it, shooting him in the head with a .25 caliber handgun “… with malice aforethought and a premeditated design …”  Cohee had continued to be detained on a $1 million bond in a LeFlore County Juvenile Detention Center pending what was to be a pretrial conference originally set for Wednesday. Instead the 17-year-old entered the plea.
Ladd said at sentencing the state will recommend a 25 year sentence with 5 years suspended. Cohee would be required to serve 85 percent of the jail time before being eligible for parole.
“I will reserve further comment until formal sentencing,” Ladd said.