On the day his trial was scheduled to begin in Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, a Shaker Heights man opted to plead guilty to a charge of attempted robbery instead.
Derrick Bufford, 22, of Shaker Heights, and his codefendants -- Brandon Campbell, 21, and James Simpson, 22 -- were accused of mugging a trio of people in Cleveland.
Simpson had already pleaded guilty to one count of robbery in September and was later sentenced to 9 months in prison.
Meanwhile, Bufford and Campbell faced three counts of robbery and one count of assault each. But, instead of going to trial on Monday, both men opted to change their plea.
Bufford pleaded guilty to one count of attempted robbery. Campbell pleaded to a count of robbery. Their remaining charges were dropped.
According to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office, Bufford, Campbell and Simpson robbed a couple near West 10th Street in Cleveland and then snatched the chain from another man nearby.
The first man was in the parking lot of his apartment building with his girlfriend when he was grabbed from behind, according to prosecutors.
They then put the man in a choke hold, struck him in the face and stole his cell phone. When the woman refused to give them her cell phone and wallet, they also hit her in the face.
A short time later, the trio approached a 21-year-old male who was walking near East 9th Street and Euclid Avenue and they stole a gold chain from around his neck.
The third victim chased the defendants around the block when one of them stopped, appeared to brandish a weapon and then chased after him, prosecutors said.
Judge Pamela Barker will sentence both Bufford and Campbell on March 25. Bufford faces up to 18 months in prison; Campbell could receive as many as five years behind bars.