By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
It took prodding, but a man charged in several burglaries netting at least an estimated $80,000 in stolen jewelry and property in Whitley County “re-accepted” his plea agreement Monday in Whitley County Circuit Court.
Larry Brandon Shelton, 30, was sentenced to 30 years behind bars for 10 different burglary cases in Whitley County.
He faced nine second-degree burglary charges and one first-degree burglary charge and an assortment of related charges in Whitley County.
Shelton was scheduled for sentencing in all the Whitley County cases Monday, and he was the last listed case on the docket.
When his case was called before Judge Dan Ballou, Shelton emerged from the holding area and announced he wanted to revoke his plea of guilty, fire Hudson, and represent himself in a jury trial.
Shelton explained he was under “extreme mental distress” when he entered into a plea agreement with the Commonwealth.
However, Commonwealth’s Attorney Allen Trimble argued this decision.
“(He) agreed to it,” Trimble said, adding that all the victims in these cases were prepared to testify. “He confessed to all (these charges) — (there’s) no basis to withdraw his guilty pleas.”
Shelton, whose uncle and mother were in the gallery watching, testified he felt he got very little time with Hudson, who, with her hand raised, denied that statement.
He again requested he get the chance to have his case heard by a jury, and was told he would not win the case and if he does take that option, he would likely serve more time.
Trimble said it could have been as much as a century in jail.
Ballou listened to the discussion, and said that if Shelton chose that course of action, he could set a trial date for August.
“But you would have to live with that,” Ballou said. “There’s no going back — there’s no more wheelin’ and dealin’ today.”
During this part of Shelton’s appearance, his uncle and Trimble had some sort of discussion which ended with the uncle being told it didn’t have anything to do with him, to which he replied “the hell it doesn’t.”
Ballou stopped for a moment, asking for “order and decorum” to return to the proceedings.
After some additional discussion, Shelton requested some time to think over his decision to withdraw from the plea agreement. He also requested to speak to his family “for a few minutes” during that time, and both requests were granted by Ballou.
Two bailiffs stood just past the gallery cut-off with Shelton while he spoke with his family, Hudson and Trimble, who all explained the plea agreement was his best course of action. He was told he “could earn a college degree,” and do something with his life, as “he would still be” a young man after his release.
After a 25-minute relatively open meeting in the courtroom, Shelton decided to accept the plea agreement.
Ballou went through each charge and the sentence, including the required restitution for each case. All sentences are to run concurrently.
Ballou told Shelton that he and his family “will be in my prayers.”
After the late afternoon sentence Monday, Shelton was remanded back into the custody of the Whitley County Detention Center. He has already been indicted for other burglaries in Laurel, Knox and Clark counties.