A judge has denied a state prison inmate's motion to withdraw his 12-year-old guilty plea to a Millard County homicide.
In a memorandum decision, 4th District Judge Ray M. Harding rejected the motion by James Earl Blair, also known as James Earl Smith. Smith will continue to serve his life sentence for the March 1978 murder of Robyn LeRoy Halsey of Scipio.Smith pleaded guilty to first-degree murder on July 25, 1978, for his involvement in the shotgun slaying of Halsey near Scipio. He was sentenced to life in prison. Another man, William Lloyd Eastwood, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder after testifying against Smith.
Smith gave several reasons for withdrawing his plea during a hearing Nov. 7 in Fillmore's District Court.
He said his guilty plea was involuntary and his attorney inadequately advised him. He also said his case was prejudiced by the prosecution's misconduct.
All the arguments were rejected by the court. Harding also found Smith had waited too long to act. Harding wrote that "trial of this matter would be impossible because of the effect 12-years delay has upon evidence, availability of witnesses and the memories of these witnesses."