West Virginia Record

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Man convicted in armed robbery pleads guilty to lesser crime

By Steve Korris | Oct 19, 2007

CHARLESTON – Julian Smith, who after 15 years behind bars overturned a jury that convicted him of aggravated armed robbery, has pleaded guilty to a lesser crime.

His plea may spell freedom. The crime carries a sentence from five to 18 years.

Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom has set a sentence hearing Oct. 31.

Smith, 39, bargained the offense down to second degree armed robbery after the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals reversed his 1992 conviction.

Smith faced a 40-year stretch, but about a third of the way through he petitioned for habeas corpus.

Public defender Pamela Cunningham convinced the Supreme Court of Appeals that prosecutors improperly called a rebuttal witness they had not disclosed to Smith.

In June, the Justices reversed and remanded. Chief Justice Robin Davis and Justices Larry Starcher, Brent Benjamin and Joseph Albright sided with Smith. Justice Spike Maynard dissented.

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