Man pleads guilty in Burlco carjack A Voorhees man was shot but survived. A second suspect faces extradition from Va.

Posted: November 28, 2006

One of two Virginia felons charged with robbing and shooting a Voorhees businessman last year pleaded guilty yesterday in exchange for a 45-year prison term.

Antoine Watts, 26, of Richmond, said in Superior Court in Mount Holly that he and codefendant Michael Thompson, 20, shot Lawrence Burns and left him for dead along the New Jersey Turnpike in February 2005 after forcing him to withdraw $900 from an ATM.

Watts will be sentenced next month on charges of attempted murder and kidnapping. His New Jersey term will run concurrent with an 89-year sentence he is serving in Virginia on robbery, carjacking and kidnapping offenses.

"This was a horrible, violent crime," Burlington County Assistant Prosecutor Raymond E. Milavsky said. "They wanted to eliminate him because they discovered a significant amount of money in his account."

Burns, then 62, was carjacked after work in the parking lot of his Mount Laurel office, and driven in his Mercedes to a nearby bank to withdraw money.

He was then driven back to his office, where one of the men got into another car. Both vehicles headed north on the turnpike.

About a mile and a half later, they pulled over, told Burns to run toward the woods, and shot him three times in the back before taking off in both cars.

Burns' car was found five miles away at a rest stop. He was robbed of $500, and his credit cards were later used to buy sneakers and clothes in New York.

Burns walked a half-mile along the turnpike before going down an embankment, scaling a five-foot-high chain-link fence, and seeking help at a pizza shop in a Church Road strip mall.

Thompson, also from Richmond, has not admitted guilt to the New Jersey charges. He was sentenced to a 20-year term in Virginia for his role in the same robberies for which Watts was convicted.

"We've got a solid case against him," said Milavsky, who hopes to extradite Thompson by the end of the year.

Contact staff writer Joel Bewley at 609-261-0900 or jbewley@phillynews.com.

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