Sentence reduced for man who killed off-duty officer

CLEVELAND - Prosecutors reached a plea deal with a man whose murder conviction in the shooting of an off-duty police officer was overturned by a federal appeals court.

Maurice Mackey was to be retried this week in the 1998 death of patrolman David Smith outside a nightclub.

Cuyahoga County prosecutors agreed Monday to let Mackey plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter, with a 13-year sentence. He will be released in 2011, receiving credit for nearly eight years already served.

Mackey, 36, of suburban Solon, originally was sentenced to 24 years to life in prison in the death of Smith and the wounding of Smith's friend. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati overturned his conviction last year, saying Mackey's trial lawyer was ineffective.

Common Pleas Judge Timothy McGinty said Wednesday that he accepted the plea deal because Smith's family, the police union and city officials all approved of the agreement.

Witnesses testified at trial that Mackey and Smith exchanged words at the club.

Mackey testified Smith pulled his gun as Mackey and his girlfriend left the bar. He said he did not know Smith was a police officer and shot in self-defense.

Prosecutors said Mackey ambushed the two men and shot them when they left to go home.

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