By Jane Beathard firstname.lastname@example.org
May 23, 2014
Sentencing for a Columbus man convicted of having sex with an underage West Jefferson girl was continued on Friday after the defendant abruptly asked to withdraw his April guilty plea.
Roy Ferrell II, 28, said he did not understand the consequences and potential prison time of pleading guilty to two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.
“He was not appraised of the gravity of his actions,” defense attorney Jeff Hunter said.
Ferrell hired Hunter on May 22 to replace his court-appointed attorney, Jess Stacy.
In a rare, last-minute decision, Madison County Common Pleas Judge Eamon Costello granted the delay to give Hunter and assistant prosecutor Nick Adkins time to review transcripts of Ferrell’s April 1 plea hearing.
In addition to the withdrawal, Hunter asked for a psychological evaluation of his new client.
Costello withheld any decision on the requests, pending review of the transcript.
Ferrell was indicted in November on multiple counts of unlawful sexual conduct, stemming from incidents in 2012 and 2013.
The victim’s parents, who were in court on Friday, were visibly upset by the delay and called it Ferrell’s tactic to postpone a probable prison sentence for the third-degree felony convictions.
Jane Beathard can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 16 or via Twitter @JaneBeathard.