Defendant pleads no contest in drug deal that ended in murder

A man has pleaded no contest to manslaughter in the 2011 shooting death of a Wilmington man when a drug deal went bad.

Twenty-five-year-old Pierre Bailey entered the plea Monday as a jury was about to be seated at his first-degree murder trial in the death of 32-year-old Phillip Costango.

Prosecutors will seek no more than an 8-year prison term at sentencing in September. But Superior Court Judge Richard R. Cooch is not bound by the agreement.

Prosecutors say Bailey and Markevus Pulliam plotted to rob Costango during a crack cocaine purchase in June 2011.

During the transaction, something went wrong and Costango fled and was shot.

The News Journal reports Pulliam pleaded guilty to manslaughter, robbery and conspiracy in January.

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