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Schmitz's request to withdraw guilty plea denied - Daily Leader Extra : Top Stories

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Schmitz's request to withdraw guilty plea denied

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Posted: Thursday, May 30, 2019 3:42 pm

During a court session held on Thursday morning in Madison, Judge Patrick Pardy ruled against a request made by Joseph Michael Schmitz to withdraw his guilty plea to first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Corina Booth in 2016.

Schmitz wanted to withdraw his guilty plea due to what he described as cognitive impairment when he appeared in court earlier this year.

Schmitz offered testimony on Thursday that his mental abilities were impaired by prescription drugs that he was taking last winter. His defense attorneys also arranged to have a medical expert provide testimony about the possible side-effects of the medicine that Schmitz had taken.

The prosecution offered information from another medical expert and testimony about Schmitz's behavior while under observation by sheriff's personnel, including Lake County Sheriff Tim Walburg.

On Jan. 7, Schmitz was scheduled to start a twice-delayed jury trial, facing murder charges related to the 2016 death of Booth. On that Monday, jury selection was planned in the Madison courtroom where his trial was scheduled to take place.

Instead, the attorneys involved in the case presented Pardy with a plea agreement that had Schmitz pleading guilty to manslaughter in the first degree and agreeing to a sentence of 15 years in prison.

Pardy came into the courtroom at midmorning to announce the plea agreement. He was preceded into the room by Schmitz, prosecuting attorneys Kelly Marnette and William Golden of the S.D. Attorney General's Office, defense attorneys Don McCarty and Mike Butler, and legal staff.

Schmitz was allowed to remain out of jail on bond until his June 3 sentencing. The sentencing hearing was later changed to June 7.

In February, Schmitz was incarcerated in the Lake County Jail after violating the conditions of his bond while awaiting sentencing. While out on bond before and after his guilty plea, Schmitz was living in Aberdeen.

In violating his bond, Schmitz was arrested in Brown County on a charge of threatening or harassing contacts by telephone or another electronic communication device.

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