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Driver in Spokane slaying gets prison time

A Spokane man who drove the suspected gunman from a homicide in January pleaded guilty to four felonies Monday but maintained he played no role in the gang-related slaying.

“In my heart, I know I didn’t murder this man or help murder this man,” Cedric E. “Dirty” Burton said before a judge sentenced him to five years in prison. He’ll serve the prison term at the same time as a 63-month sentence imposed last month after a jury convicted him of second-degree assault for a separate case.

Burton, 23, said he knew the murder victim, John S. Williams, “personally.”

“He was a nice guy to me, too. He was real cool,” Burton said. “… I do feel sorry for him.”

Williams was shot to death Jan. 17 outside a party at 5405 N. Crestline. His alleged killer, Edward L. “TD” Thomas, was arrested in Los Angeles this week and is expected to return to Spokane to face murder charges. Police say the shooting was gang related.

Burton was described by police as a member of a Compton, Calif.,-based street gang.