A handful of onlookers waited, wondered and joked around during the long wait. At 10:22 a.m., the court reporter entered the courtroom and began preparations for the trial. A larger number of people gathered inside and it was a sign that something was about to happen.
District Judge Richard Darby entered the courtroom at 10:25 a.m., followed by the jury at 10:28 a.m. Darby thanked the jurors for their time and efforts, for being there ready to try the case. He then informed them that they would not be deciding the case, which was at first expected to last at least until Friday.
Passmore entered a plea of no contest to manslaughter in the second-degree. Assistant District Attorney Jan Warren said Passmore decided on the plea without the DA's office promising any specific sentence recommendation.
Second-degree manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of four years and a minimum of two years in the penitentiary or one year in the county jail or a $1,000 dollar fine or any combination of the above.
Darby has ordered a pre-sentence investigation. Warren said a sentencing hearing will be held in the Greer County Courthouse on March 25 where witnesses will be heard from both sides.
Rick Moore, the father of the victim, declined to comment on the decision to accept the plea.