Chavez Myers, one of nine suspects charged with the 2012 stabbing death of 17-year-old Olijawon Griffin, is seeking to withdraw his guilty plea saying he wasn’t given sufficient time to think about his decision and was persuaded by his defense attorneys to agree to charges he says he didn’t commit.
Defense attorneys for Myers filed the motion to withdraw the guilty plea on Tuesday.
Myers, 17, entered the plea in September, days before the case was scheduled to go to trial. Court documents state that the day after he plead, Myers contacted his defense attorney’s and told them he wanted to withdraw his guilty plea.
According to court documents, Myers sent a handwritten letter to Judge Ronna Beck on October 18 stating that he was “extremely nervous and scared” when he entered the plea. Myers’ letter also states that he felt coerced by his attorneys to take the plea.
“When I asked to have more time to think about it I was told [Judge Beck] wouldn’t allow it,” the letter states. “This put me in a very uncomfortable position, which I believe caused me to make a enormous mistake.”
The defense’s motion states that Myers still contends he is innocent to the first-degree murder while armed charge he pleaded guilty to, and that he felt pressured by his attorneys and family members to accept the plea agreement.
Under the plea agreement, Myers would have faced up to 30 years in prison for Griffin’s death. In exchange, prosecutors would have dropped nine counts of conspiracy, robbery, and related weapons offenses against Myers in the case.
Prosecutors allege that Myers, Greg Whittaker, Deon Jefferson, Muquan Cawthorne, Gary Maye, Immanuel Swann and two unidentified juveniles robbed Griffin on the night of Nov. 16, 2012. When Griffin attempted to retrieve his belongings from the group he was stabbed and killed at the Woodley metro station, documents state.
All codefendants in the case pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter while armed, with the exception of Myers. In accepting their plea agreements, codefendants told the government that the day of the murder, Myers snuck up on Griffin from behind and stabbed Griffin in the chest with a knife, causing his death.
Judge Beck appointed Myers with new defense counsel Friday and set a status hearing for November 15.