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Leetonia man asks to pull plea in sex case

LISBON — A 25-year-old Leetonia man who had pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual conduct for his actions with a 15-year-old girl in 2018 attempted to withdraw his plead at what would have been his sentencing hearing on Monday.

Defense attorney Christopher Amato filed the motion in late November on behalf of his client, Garrett Anderson, stating there was newly discovered evidence that should be considered.

Assistant County Prosecutor Tammie Riley Jones said she was concerned a relationship between the families of Anderson and the victim may be leading to a change in what is being alleged. Jones noted the case was never presented to the grand jury and negotiated in good faith. Anderson had agreed to plead with an agreement and just prosecutor’s information, which is where the attorneys share the evidence and negotiate. The recommended prison term was nine months.

Amato said he would not have known about the new evidence prior to the plea agreement.

Bickerton noted the allegations in the prosecutor’s information could have led to charges of sexual battery or other offenses, but instead he was allowed to plead guilty to a lesser offense. She noted if he is allowed to withdraw his plea and it goes through the grand jury, he could face higher level felonies and possible steeper penalties.

She gave both attorneys until Feb. 15 to file additional motions about the case regarding the proposed withdrawal of plea and how it affects the time to try the case.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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