As a partially paralyzed Oklahoma City police officer looked on Friday, a judge denied a request by one of the officer's attackers to withdraw his guilty plea.
Oklahoma County District Judge Kenneth Watson denied a motion by the attorney for Cadmio Antonio Lopez to throw out his plea and let Lopez renegotiate a deal with prosecutors he had previously turned down.
Lopez, 32, of Newcastle, pleaded guilty to assault and battery by means likely to cause death and was sentenced last month to 15 years in prison for his role in the assault on officer Chad Peery.
“He can't withdraw it and renegotiate,” Watson said. “There's nothing to suggest the plea wasn't a voluntary plea.”
The defense, the judge said, failed to prove any of the elements necessary for granting the motion.
Don Jackson, Lopez's attorney, said Watson told him when Lopez was sentenced that he could withdraw his client's plea.
Watson said he “misspoke.”
Jackson was overheard telling Watson that prosecutors had Peery attend the hearing to put pressure on the judge to rule in their favor. Peery uses a wheelchair.
The judge said Peery, the victim of a violent crime, has a right to be in the courtroom.
Jackson declined to comment after the hearing.
District Attorney David Prater also declined to comment.
Three men were charged after Peery was assaulted Feb. 15, 2011, while off duty with his father at a northwest Oklahoma City bar.
Earlier this month, co-defendant Jimmy Dan Smith, 29, of Tuttle, pleaded guilty to assault and battery charges, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 10 years on probation as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.
Lopez, prosecutors said, received a stiffer sentence than Smith because he entered a blind plea, which leaves sentencing up the judge's discretion. Lopez initially was offered a plea deal from prosecutors, but turned it down. A week before his scheduled trial, he wanted to accept the deal, but the offer had been withdrawn, prosecutors said.
The other man charged in the case, Joshua B. Rinken, 29, of Norman, is awaiting trial.
Prosecutors allege Rinken put Chad Peery in a headlock, injuring his neck, and Smith repeatedly punched the officer in the head.
Lopez never hit Peery, but did keep the officer's father and others from intervening, prosecutors said. Lopez, a construction worker, called the judge's ruling a “joke.”
“Did you see the video? I'm innocent,” Lopez told reporters outside the courtroom. “I didn't do anything.”
Peery, with his parents by his side, said he's anxious to put the case behind him.
“None of it's easy, dealing with having to see the guys all over again,” he said. “You just hope and pray for the results you want.”