FARMINGTON, Maine — A Jay man asked Friday to withdraw his guilty plea on a sex charge that he entered in June after opening statements in a jury trial had been given in Franklin County Superior Court. His attorneys also filed a motion to withdraw from the case.
Ralph O. Metcalf, 34, had pleaded guilty on June 19 to a felony charge of having unlawful sexual contact with a child under 12 in August 2010. In a plea agreement with the state, a higher felony charge of gross sexual assault was dismissed.
A jury had heard opening statements from Assistant District Attorney James Andrews and defense attorney, Peter Kaynor, prior to Justice Michaela Murphy calling for a recess at the Franklin County Superior Court. Jurors went to the jury room.
After discussions with attorneys in the courtroom and in chambers, a plea deal was reached.
Metcalf was expected to be sentenced on Friday.
Instead, Justice Michaela Murphy addressed the motions to withdraw the guilty plea and withdrawal as counsel from attorneys Kaynor and Christopher Berryment. Both attorneys stood up with Metcalf.
Murphy asked Metcalf why he wanted the attorneys to withdraw.
“Because I feel I was misrepresented,” Metcalf said. “At the time I took the plea, I was … I don’t know how to say that.”
Berryment asked the court if he could have a minute with Metcalf. The two talked briefly away from the microphone and returned.
“I’m not exactly sure why I want them to withdraw, your honor,” Metcalf said.
He wants new counsel.
“Do you understand you would be locked up?” Murphy asked him. “You would remain in jail until the matter is resolved.”
“I did not know that,” Metcalf said. “I didn’t understand that.”
The withdrawal of both the guilty plea and of counsel delays sentencing, she said. He would not receive credit for good time, she said.
He has been held without bail pending sentencing since he pleaded guilty last month.
Murphy ordered Metcalf to continue to be held without bail. She told the attorneys that she would read through a law case presented to her and would let attorneys know her decision on the matters by the end of the day.
The sentencing recommendation in June was for Metcalf to serve five years of a 10-year sentence, Andrews previously said. Due to statutory availability and the age of the child, he could serve up to 12 years of probation once he is released, he said.