Defendant asks to withdraw pleas

Published 10:19 pm Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Faced with a sentencing hearing on second-degree murder and other charges, a Suffolk man chose instead on Wednesday to request to withdraw his guilty pleas.

Markelyn Lamontre Jones, 19, initially said he would represent himself on the request but later requested a court-appointed attorney.

Jones is charged in the death of 23-year-old Aaron Lemonte Hunter, who died on March 11, 2016, after being shot at an apartment in the Wilson Pines Apartments in the 2500 block of East Washington Street.

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Jones, who was 17 when the shooting happened, pleaded guilty on Nov. 16, 2016, to charges of second-degree murder, robbery, burglary of a dwelling while armed and three counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

But he later decided he wanted to withdraw his guilty pleas. Concerned about his competency, his defense attorney, James Broccoletti, requested a review. But a doctor’s report prepared last month found that he is competent, according to a statement in Suffolk Circuit Court on Wednesday by Judge Robert H. Sandwich Jr.

Broccoletti said neither he nor Jones’ mother believed it was the best course of action for Jones to go through with requesting to withdraw his guilty pleas, so he made a motion to withdraw as Jones’ attorney. Sandwich granted the motion.

“It’s clear to me that you have a conflict,” Sandwich said. “It’s clearly an ethical obligation. You have a dilemma where you can’t effectively represent your client based on his actions.”

Sandwich appointed Nicole Belote to represent Jones on the request to withdraw his guilty pleas. A hearing will be held Sept. 25 to select a future date for another hearing.

Jones’ co-defendant, Mandocous Jayni Rivers, 20, is set for a jury trial Dec. 4-6.