Murphy to testify before sentencingPublished 2:34pm Monday, November 7, 2011
One of the five Niles teenagers facing criminal charges for involvement in an alleged sex video extortion case had his sentencing scheduled for December.
Appearing before Judge Scott Schofield Monday at the South Berrien County Courthouse, Leon Murphy withdrew the motion he made in October to withdraw his guilty plea.
He is now slated to be sentenced Dec. 5, after he testifies against co-defendants Parnell Martin and Martell Miller, who face their trials Nov. 29. Murphy must testify in those trial as a part of the plea bargain.
Murphy pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal sexual conduct and possession of child pornography in May. Assistant Berrien County Prosecutor Steve Pierangeli told reporters the prosecution still has the right to withdraw the plea agreement if the defendant doesn’t comply with the terms of the plea deal.
Murphy, who filed a motion to withdraw his former lawyer Jason Engram in October, was represented by a new attorney, James Miller.
Miller said he has met with Murphy several times in the past two weeks to discuss the plea agreement and the potential consequences of withdrawing his plea should he be found guilty in a jury trial.
Murphy was originally charged with several offenses, including first-degree criminal sexual conduct, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison or any number of years.
Murphy, along with co-defendants Martin, Miller, Martise Washington and Trey Nichols, are accused of producing a sex video of a then 17-year-old girl and threatening to post it to Facebook if she didn’t perform sexual favors.
Washington was found guilty of all seven charges against him last week, while Trey Nichols will be tried in mid-December.