Plea Deal: Lehigh Acres man sentenced 20 years

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Ricky Ligonde – Photo courtesy of Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

Twenty years behind bars — that is the price Ricky Ligonde, 20, will serve for his role in the robbery and murder of a Lehigh Acres taxi driver. Lee County sheriff’s deputies said Ligonde confessed to participating in an armed robbery that turned deadly.

Ligonde accepted a plea deal to serve 20 years in prison with one year of probation Monday morning, which adjusted his charges to second-degree murder with a firearm and robbery with a firearm — originally facing a charge of first-degree murder.

“Ligonde acknowledges his participation,” his defense attorney said, “And the need to serve this sentence.”

MORE: Lehigh Acres homicide, robbery suspect held without bail 

Last year, a grand jury raised the stakes, putting the death penalty on the table.

“Ligonde is here today for being charged with a first-degree felony, along with robbery with a firearm,” said Andres Gardner, a state attorney.

Gardner told the court Ligonde cooperated with the investigation, and that was why he got the plea deal.

“I’m going to adjudicate you guilty on each count,” Judge Bruce Kyle said. “You’ll serve 20 to run concurrently so at the same time.”

But neighbors fear Ligonde will be back on the street before the 20 years are up.

As part of the plea bargain, Ligonde must cooperate for the two trials of his suspected accomplices, both teenagers, one of which was 13-years-old when the crime happened.

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