MOUNT VERNON — A Mount Vernon man Wednesday asked to withdraw a guilty plea, claiming he made the plea because he was afraid of additional charges being brought against him.
Russell T. Copeland, 35, Mount Vernon, requested in Knox County Common Pleas Court that he be allowed to withdraw a guilty plea he previously entered May 18 to one count of aggravated trafficking in drugs. Copeland said he pleaded to the charge to take a plea deal, in which the state agreed not to pursue an additional charge alleging he was in was in possession of a firearm while banned from having weapons.
Speaking in court Wednesday, Copeland said he is innocent of the trafficking charge, which alleges he sold meth Dec. 13, 2017. Copeland said he “felt threatened” by the possibility the state would bring a charge of possessing weapons under disability, a third-degree felony, and the possible prison time it carried with it, if he did not take the plea deal.
Speaking in court Wednesday, Copeland implied the firearm in question belonged to someone else.
Copeland was originally charged with two counts of aggravated trafficking in drugs, both fourth-degree felonies. One of the trafficking charges was dismissed, as part of the plea deal.
Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Wetzel said he will take the matter under advisement and make a decision at a later date.