News From Terre Haute, Indiana

January 12, 2013

Runaway wants to withdraw plea on 2 felonies

The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A runaway teen from Gibault Children’s Services has asked to withdraw his guilty plea on the grounds of ineffective counsel.

Andre Moton, 18, of Gary was scheduled for sentencing Friday, but Judge Michael Lewis appointed a new public defender in the case and set a Feb. 12 hearing date in Vigo Superior Court 6.

He wrote a letter to the court stating, “I’d like to take my case to trial or a better plea agreement than I received. It’s my constitutional right to withdraw my plea according to your laws.”

Moton faced up to 35 years in prison for an October 2011 carjacking and police chase that resulted in the death of another runaway. In September, Moton pleaded guilty to robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, a class-A felony, and attempted carjacking, a class-B felony in a plea agreement capping the sentence at 35 years.

On Monday, Lewis appointed public defender Mark Mullican as Moton’s new attorney, but the judge declined to act on the request to withdraw the plea agreement. Lewis told Moton to talk to his new attorney first.

Fellow runaway Jordan Sneed recently received a 30-year prison sentence for his participation in brutal attacks that left one man crippled for life and a fellow runaway dead in an auto crash.

On the night of Oct. 24, 2011, Moton and two other juveniles — Jordan Sneed and Therlow Pope IV — left Gibault Children’s Services on U.S. 41 south of Terre Haute, and embarked on a crime spree that ran from Walmart South to White Castle and ended with the crash of a stolen pickup truck on Third Street near College Avenue around 11:14 p.m.

Police allege that Moton was the driver of the truck, while Sneed and Pope were passengers. Because of his injuries, Pope was airlifted to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, where he later died. Sneed was also hospitalized due to his injuries. Moton was apprehended a short time after running from the crash scene