Woman pleads guilty in Piazza drug murders

NORTHERN LIBERTIES - November 23, 2010

Katoya Jones, 26, pleaded guilty Monday to third-degree murder in the June 2009 killing of Rian Thal, 34, and Timothy Gilmore, 40 at the PIazza at Schmidts.

Jones admitted she let one of the alleged shooters into the building as part of a plot to rob Thal of drugs and money.

Thal and Gilmore were killed outside Thal's apartment where police say they found more than eight pounds of cocaine and $110,000 in cash.

Seven other people are charged in the shootings. Their trial is scheduled for next year.

At a hearing in September, 2009, Jones says she let her friend Keith Epps, 41, inside so he could rob Thal's apartment. But he tried the wrong unit, so Jones later let in accused gunman Donnell Murchison.

RELATE SLIDESHOW: See surveillance pictures from the crime scene

A former bartender, Thal had something of a high profile on the club scene, throwing parties that attracted professional athletes, rappers and other local celebrities. She had a few relatively minor drug arrests in her background, but friends described her as a hard worker who rarely drank.

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