WICHITA, Kan. — A southern Kansas judge has denied a man’s push to withdraw his guilty plea for his alleged role in the 2014 killings of an elderly couple in Wichita.
Sedgwick County District Judge Bruce Brown last week rejected 19-year-old Carlos Delacadena-Edwards’ claims that he was coerced into accepting a plea deal in May to lesser murder counts, the Wichita Eagle (http://bit.ly/2bO9qbM ) reported. Brown made the ruling after a three-hour hearing.
Originally charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Martha Lopez Moreno and Godofredo Moreno-Lopez, Delacadena-Edwards pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree intentional murder and one count of aggravated robbery before the scheduled start of his trial.
Delacadena-Edwards admitted that he accompanied Steven Wade Edwards II to the couple’s home, where Steven Edwards shot the victims, each in their 70s, as Delacadena-Edwards, then 17, stood guard before helping steal a vehicle and other property.
Steven Edwards also pleaded guilty to reduced charges but is asking to have that plea withdrawn.
In trying to withdraw his plea, Delacadena-Edwards argued that he felt pressured into taking the deal, which recommends he spend about 27 years in prison. Delacadena-Edwards said his defense attorney believed the evidence against him was strong and that convictions by a jury might lead to a longer sentence, perhaps 50 or 60 years or more.
He also claimed he accepted the deal within 24 hours of it being offered by prosecutors, giving him insufficient time to mull it over.
“I can’t just think about that overnight,” Delacadena-Edwards told the judge last week.
Countered Brown: “I am convinced if you were back in the same situation, day of trial, jury’s waiting, you would’ve done the same thing.”
This story has been corrected to say that the year of the killing was 2014 not 2104.
Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com