Murder suspect changes plea for 3rd time
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After pleading guilty to murder in connection to the shooting death of 14-year-old James Thomas last year, Le'Glenn Schofield wrote a letter to the judge in his case saying he wanted to change his plea. Wednesday Schofield changed his tune again, asking for his request to be withdrawn.
Schofield had sent a handwritten letter to judge Jack Schemer Tuesday asking to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming he was coerced.
Local attorney Gene Nichols said this is a risky move for a defendant because if he isn't allowed to withdraw his plea, the whole thing could backfire.
Nichols, who is not associated with the case, also said this is something you don't see every day.
"It's not very common, it happens occasionally. If, once he gave his initial plea in open court, a judge – it appears, in this case, it was Judge Schemer – will ask the defendant multiple questions," Nichols said.
One of those questions includes whether or not the defendant was coerced into a plea, which the defendant has to answer under oath and which Schofield claims happened in his letter.
"Today I sit and write you because I'm not comfortable with the plea I never truly understood and I feel like the state as well as my own representation coerced me to sign," Schofield wrote. "I stated several times to Mr. Perkins that I did not want to plea to the following charges but he simply overlooked my statements."
"It's easy to allege that you were coerced but when the judge asks you specifically, on the record, if you were coerced and you specifically have told them no, a lot is going to have to be shown to the court for them to overturn what you have already told them," Nichols said.
While waiting for an answer back on both his change of plea and the request to have it withdrawn, Schofield is set to testify in the trial of co-defendant Michael Brown in February.
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