Suspect accused of shooting DEA agent will plead guilty

Suspect accused of shooting DEA agent will plead guilty

ORANGEBURG COUNTY, SC (WIS) - The man accused of shooting a DEA agent at his Orangeburg home in October will enter a guilty plea with federal prosecutors.

Joel Robinson, 32, will plead guilty to assault on a federal officer. That charge carries a maximum of 10 years. All other charges against him will be dismissed at sentencing.

If the court accepts the plea, Robinson will go to jail for eight years. He could also pay restitution and have monitored watch after release. He must also turn over any guns and ammo still in his possession.

Robinson is accused of shooting Special Agent Barry Watson. Watson was serving a drug trafficking warrant at Robinson's home on Snapover Lane on October 20. He was then shot in the elbow.

Robinson reportedly fired five to six shots from a firearm at law enforcement agents.

Robinson's attorney were set to argue self-defense in support of a not guilty plea on Monday.

"There's a statute that requires you to knock and announce," attorney Dick Harpootlian said, "a federal statute that requires you to knock and announce and give the person an opportunity to come to the door and answer and they didn't do that. It's been a matter of huge debate, but this plea resolves all that. He absolutely regrets shooting the officer. He regrets shooting anybody."

In the complaint, investigators claim Robinson and others were working an "ongoing PCP manufacturing operation for a number of years."

Robinson's deal must be taken under advisement by the court. However, Robinson does not have the right to withdraw his plea if the deal or its terms on sentencing are not accepted.

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