Criminal Justice

Granted a Trial After Taking a 20-Year Plea, Man Is Again Convicted of Murder, Gets 45 Years

An Illinois man who won a new first-degree murder trial after taking a plea by pointing out to an appellate court that state law required him to get a substantially higher sentence, has now been tried, reconvicted and resentenced.

And, just as a state appeals court warned Brian W. Pinkas might happen, when it agreed last year to allow him to withdraw his plea, he has gotten a much heftier sentence than the 20-year term to which he originally agreed. Adding the 25-year minimum mandatory addition term for using a gun to commit a murder to the minimum 20-year sentence for the murder itself, a judge on Wednesday sentenced the 52-year-old to a 45-year prison term, the Alton Telegraph reports.

“It was unwise of Mr. Pinkas to roll the dice with my office,” said Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons. “Though this was a challenging case to prosecute, we nonetheless refused a plea bargain and tried the case, and the defendant lost. His failed gamble in the justice system will more than double his prison sentence—which is virtually a life sentence, which is appropriate for this gruesome crime.”

Pinkas was found guilty by a jury of first-degree murder in the 2004 shotgun slaying of his girlfriend, Sharon Reynolds, 37, at their Granite City home. He said he hadn’t realized the gun was loaded and didn’t intend to shoot her when he threatened her with the firearm.

The article doesn’t include any comment from Pinkas or his legal counsel.

Earlier coverage: “Retrial Begins for Inmate Who Argued His Sentence Was 25 Years Too Short”

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