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Criminal Justice

Retrial Begins for Inmate Who Argued His Sentence Was 25 Years Too Short

Posted Sep 11, 2012 1:14 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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An Illinois man who argued his murder sentence was too short in a gambit to withdraw his guilty plea is being retried this week.

Brian Pinkas received a 20-year sentence for the murder of his girlfriend when he pleaded guilty in 2005, report the Belleville News-Democrat and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He told police that he intended to scare his girlfriend with the shotgun and didn’t know it was loaded, a claim he also made at sentencing.

Pinkas tried to withdraw the plea a year later, arguing he was under the influence of alcohol when he confessed to the crime and psychotropic drugs when he pleaded guilty. He also argued that his plea bargain was invalid because the minimum sentence should have been 45 years—20 years for the murder and 25 years for using a firearm in the crime.

An Illinois appeals court accepted the sentencing argument last year and allowed Pinkas to withdraw his plea. The court warned that Pinkas could see his sentence increase by 25 years.

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