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|FIRST ON WGIL: Sheley Drops Intent to Plead Guilty; Change of Venue for Murder Trial Denied, For Now
|FIRST REPORTED 12:00pm 11/6/09 Accused spree killer Nicholas Sheley no longer wants to plead guilty to one of eight deaths he's accused of committing, and the case will, so far, continue to be tried in Knox County.
Sheley, through defense attorney Jeremy Karlin, told Judge James Stewart late Friday morning he no longer wanted to plead guilty to the 17-felony murder and other charges he faces for the death of 65-year old Ronald Randall. That's despite Sheley's insistence to the contrary in late-September, and despite a court filing made as soon as last week by Karlin that Sheley still wanted to plead guilty.
When Stewart asked Sheley if he indeed had changed his mind and doesn't want to plead guilty, Sheley responded, "it is."
Prior to that, Karlin argued the defense-filed change of venue motion filed in the case. He told the court two phone surveys conducted, one in June and one October eighth, overwhelmingly show that Knox County residents are talking about the case, and many of them feel Sheley is guilty. Karlin blames what he called, "prejudiced information" provided to the media. He claims that there is a "substantial, continuous drumbeat" of information being reported in the media that demonstrates prejudice, making finding a jury here impossible.
Prosecutor Steve Plazibat argued, though, that phone polls are often unreliable and should be given little weight.
Stewart, in part, agreed, and said the jury selection process is the only process that selects the best jurors for any case, and that until it becomes impossible to find a jury in Knox County, he believes one can be found here.
Sheley remains held in the Knox County Jail for now, but is expected to head to prison soon after being convicted last month in a jailhouse assault case. The next scheduled court date in the murder case is December fourth.
(Nicholas Sheley is led out of the Knox County Courthouse in September, 2009. WGIL News Story by Will Stevenson. File Photo by Dominic Fortini.)
|11 06 09 by Newsroom
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