Carrying a Bible, with a ribbon bookmark wedged three-quarters of the way through, Walter Alexander brought his faith with him to court Tuesday.
"I'm at peace with my decision. I've prayed long and hard about this," Alexander said.
He and another co-defendant in the O.J. Simpson robbery case, Charles Cashmore, pleaded guilty to low-level felonies Tuesday in District Court and pledged to work with prosecutors against Simpson.
Alexander, 46, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery and Cashmore to accessory to robbery, as part of plea deals attorneys announced earlier this month in which the pair agreed to testify against Simpson.
District Attorney David Roger agreed to drop nine other charges, including first-degree kidnapping, against the two in exchange for the plea.
Simpson and his co-defendants are accused of storming a Palace Station hotel room Sept. 13 and, at gunpoint, hauling away sports memorabilia from two collectors, Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley. Simpson claimed some of the memorabilia belonged to him.
Simpson's co-defendents initially were charged with 10 counts, while Simpson was charged with one additional count of coercion with use of a deadly weapon for taking Fromong's cell phone and keeping him from calling police.
An amended criminal complaint that includes a second felony charge of coercion against Simpson and two new coercion charges each against the other three defendants -- Clarence Stewart, Michael McClinton and Charles Ehrlich -- is expected to be filed today. Each now faces a coercion charge for preventing Fromong from calling 911 and for taking Beardsley's baseball cap and glasses at gunpoint.
The new complaint also says Simpson and Stewart persuaded other conspirators to lie about the use of firearms at the hotel.
Simpson has said there were no firearms at the hotel.
Alexander and Cashmore are expected to be key witnesses for Roger at the preliminary hearing scheduled to begin Nov. 8 for Simpson and his remaining three codefendants because both can identify weapons used in the alleged heist.
Roger said Cashmore could get probation or up to one to five years in prison at sentencing, which will come after an April 15 status check. The district attorney said he would seek a suspended sentence for Alexander, which could get him probation instead of one to six years in prison.
Simpson attorney Gabriel Grasso said there have been no discussions with Roger on any plea deal for Simpson, 60.
Yale Galanter, another lawyer for Simpson, accused the district attorney of letting co-defendants off easy for their testimony against his client, and said he was looking forward to cross-examining Alexander and Cashmore.
"The district attorney's office is giving away the courthouse in order to make deals," Galanter said. "Obviously, the district attorney is looking to make a case against O.J. Simpson and is offering people incredible deals in an effort to do that."
Outside the courthouse after his plea, Alexander gave a brief statement, saying he entered into the deal to tell the truth.
Alexander's attorney, Robert Dennis Rentzer, told would-be critics that his client was no snitch. Pointing to Alexander's Bible, he said, "Walter is not a snitch. Walter is confessing."
The two then walked off, refusing to take any questions.
After pleading, Cashmore was "emotional," his lawyer said, and ducked out of a separate exit from the courthouse, leaving his attorney, Edward Miley, to answer reporters' questions.
Miley said Cashmore, a 40-year-old journeyman laborer, met Simpson for the first time at a bar at the Palms hotel about 30 minutes before they went to Palace Station.
Miley said he had no idea a robbery was about to occur. He said his client saw two guns in the room, one holstered on Alexander's hip, the other in the hand of McClinton, who at one point waved the gun at Cashmore, urging him to pack up memorabilia on the bed and cart it out. Cashmore carried out a box of memorabilia he later turned over to police.
"He understands what he did was wrong in hindsight. I think, he was thinking things were going to blow over," Miley said.
Cashmore found Simpson to be "nice" and "gracious," Miley said.
Moments later, Cashmore appeared before the throng of media on the front steps of the courthouse and gave a brief statement, saying:
"Today was actually a very hard day. It was not my proudest moment, and I'm just looking forward to getting on with my life."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Contact reporter K.C. Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org or (702) 380-1039.