Thursday, January 25, 2007

New Trial After Plea Bargain Breach

Daniel Larson pleaded guilty in 2002 to second-degree murder, confessing to strangling Anastasia King, the 20-year-old wife of his landlord in 2000. He testified against the landlord, Indle King Jr., who was convicted of first-degree murder for ordering the killing. Now Larson is being tried for first-degree murder. How's that again? Didn't he already plead guilty to second-degree murder? It turns out that his plea agreement said that he wouldn't contest his conviction and that the state could file again if he did. He appealed, and the state is prosecuting. And now it has his taped confession, the transcript of his testimony from the first trial, and television interviews. Mail-order bride's killer goes on trial, (Everett) Herald, Jan. 25, 2007.

See State v. Larson, 128 Wash.App. 1071, 2005 WL 1950366 (Div. I 2005) (unpublished), Westlaw link. Here is Judge Appelwick's summary:

Daniel Larson was charged with first degree murder. He entered into a plea agreement with the State wherein he pleaded guilty to second degree murder and agreed to testify against another involved in the murder. The plea agreement stated that Larson agreed not to challenge his conviction. The agreement also provided that the State could file additional or greater charges if Larson violated the agreement, and that in such a case Larson both waived his double jeopardy protections and would remain bound by the agreement. After sentencing, in violation of the terms of the agreement, Larson moved to withdraw his guilty plea and filed a personal restraint petition. The court ruled that the State could reinstate the original first degree murder charge without vacating the second degree murder conviction. Larson argues that this constitutes double jeopardy and that he did not knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waive protection from double jeopardy. We affirm.

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