CLEVELAND (WJW) – A Cleveland man has pleaded guilty to the murder of a Cleveland police detective and another man back in 2020.
Prosecutors say 21-year-old David McDaniel pleaded guilty to the murder of 53-year-old Detective James Skernivitz and another 50-year-old man in a parking lot near West 65th Street on Sept. 3, 2020.
“Sometimes trials are hard to relive. It was a plea deal and prosecutors are very good about conferring with the family and talking with the family so I’m sure that was done here,” said Jeff Follmer, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association.
According to investigators, McDaniel and two teens tried to rob Skernivitz and the other victim inside their car.
Investigators say McDaniel and a 17-year-old shot the victims, causing them to crash the car into a nearby playground. The suspects then left the scene, investigators say.
Both Skernivitz and the other man were taken by EMS to a nearby hospital, where they were pronounced dead.
McDaniel and the 17-year-old, identified as Kevin Robinson, were arrested on Sept. 6. The 15-year-old was arrested on Sept. 8.
Thursday, McDaniel pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated murder and two counts of aggravated robbery.
He will be sentenced on April 13.
“I hope at sentencing that he does not see the outside of a prison wall for a very long time,” said Follmer, “It’s a violent world right now. People have to learn that if you do something to the police, you’re going to prison for a long time.”
“The death of Detective Skernivitz and the citizen who volunteered to assist him were a result of senseless acts of gun violence and remains a heart-breaking day for our community,” said Prosecutor Michael O’Malley. “This tragedy has impacted all of us, and I hope today helps provide the families, fellow officers, and our community with some semblance of justice.”
Robinson pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and robbery charges on July 6, 2022. He was sentenced to life in prison with the first eligibility of parole after 28 years.
Brittany Cremeans, Rodney Cremeans and Antonio Darby were sentenced last year for helping dispose of murder weapons.